'Failing the acid test' was very much an 'outsider's view' looking in. As a researcher within the NHS throughout the period encompassing Sir Michael Peckham's innovative Research for Health , the original wide-ranging Culyer consultation, and the present competitive Culyer-levy funding of R&D providers, I found rather little in the article which I could recognise from our efforts.

But Barbara Millar did make me wonder whether NHS R&D has been asking the right questions.

For example, would it really make much difference to our overall care if for one year there was a complete moratorium on acute surgical and medical research, and a mass migration of the most experienced health service scientists into primary care, to build up the evidence base so urgently needed by the new primary care groups? If these groups fail to deliver, the consequences will be grim.

Last week one critical area needing more R&D was flagged up by NHS chief executive Alan Langlands at the Association for Public Health forum. This was the evidence base for Our Healthier Nation , especially the basis for effective 'working together'.

Before PCGs become too set in their ways, can we persuade the NHS Executive to put some money and multiprofessional staffing upfront?

Woody Caan, Head of research and development, Lifespan Healthcare trust, Cambridge.