Published: 14/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5796 Page 22 23

Tineke Bosma and Joan Higgins are right to say workforce development is critical for primary care trusts to achieve their potential. But their data from the rapidly dating tracker studies may make them unduly pessimistic. The new PCTs are attracting excellent specialist staff from health authorities and community trusts. In many areas, teaching PCTs will be working with neighbouring PCTs and universities to co-ordinate education, training and studentplacement initiatives.

PCTs will no doubt 'make sure they are involved in their local workforce confederation'. It would not be unreasonable to assume these 'strategic' bodies have looked ahead and are poised to provide expert briefing for incoming PCT boards and chief executives on the workforce agenda. Is anyone 'tracking' the confederations? Can we assume most confederations have at least set up their boards by now? Our local one does not appear to have done so. This at least means they have the opportunity to involve PCTs from the start.

Professor David Cox Chair designate South Birmingham PCT