Published: 16/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5805 Page 22

Lesley Mackay and Jacinta Elliott ('School daze', feature, 18 April) are right to draw attention to the misconceptions of school pupils, particularly from black and minority-ethnic communities, about NHS careers. However, this is only part of the picture.

Our work on entry to NHS careers a couple of years ago, particularly for the Bangladeshi community in east London, also found widespread ignorance and misconceptions in the NHS and education partners about young people - stereotyping them as uninterested or prevented by religion or culture from considering the NHS. Although Bangladeshis are seriously under-represented in the NHS workforce, there are some role models and examples of positive initiatives. We found a significant degree of interest, but also ignorance, about NHS careers among young people. Education and NHS bodies have taken up issues raised by our research and the pathways to access project we were evaluating.

HSJ readers may be interested in We Ne e d You - a video and teacher resource pack about jobs in the NHS for use with years 11-13 written by two secondary school teachers. It features male and female Bangladeshi health professionals and is available from: info@learningdesign. org John Eversley Senior research fellow Public Policy Research Unit Queen Mary University of London