Letters

Your news focus on the independent sector concordat ('Private wings, ruffled feathers', pages 12-13, 2 November) referred to the three largest groups in mental health and the profits they make, indicating that the St Andrew's group makes a profit of£2.3m.

As a charity, St Andrew's, which is a national provider of mental health services, reinvests all of its surplus into offering improved facilities in mental health in areas where there is a national shortage of provision.

During the past five years, St Andrew's Hospital has invested£30m in new psychiatric facilities, all aimed at people with various forms of mental health problems and challenging behaviour.

In 2000 alone, we have opened two new facilities, a 51-bed lowsecure psychiatric unit in Basildon, Essex, for people with long-term mental illness and challenging behaviour, and a 60-bed unit in Northampton for young people with severe mental illness and challenging behaviour (the major resource for this group in the UK).

Looking ahead, the group has plans to further expand the work that it undertakes on behalf of NHS patients, providing services for some of the most damaged people in our society who have requirements for care and treatment and a right to have that care in modern facilities. We will be continuing to reinvest our surplus in such services as the charity has done for 160 years.

The St Andrew's group of hospitals will continue to offer high-quality care to some of the most vulnerable members of the community but, like all charities, we have to raise the money in order to be able to reinvest in new facilities to provide that care.

Michael J Harris Medical director St Andrew's Hospital Northampton