Published: 08/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5886 Page 24

How disappointing that in HSJ's news focus on foundation membership (pages 12-13, 20 November) you report, not for the first time, on a Guy's and St Thomas'Hospital trust public meeting to paint a picture of public apathy.

At Addenbrooke's trust, we have held 11 public meetings as part of our consultation process.

Attendance has varied from five to 22 members of the public.Modest numbers, but the standard of their contribution at these meetings has been impressive.

We have been asked difficult questions, received new insights and generally been forced to think in depth about our proposals after dialogue with the public.

Those attending have mostly been open-minded and appreciative of the opportunity.

On some occasions, the biggest challenge has been getting people to leave at the end of the meeting.

Rather than deciding in advance that 'people do not turn up to these events', we would encourage others to take the risk and get out there.

You might find it a lot more rewarding than you anticipate.

Stephen Davies Foundation trust project director Addenbrooke's trust