LETTERS

I have been working as a consultant surgeon at St Helier Hospital since 1978.

During this time I have also worked at other nearby hospitals and, as regional advisor in urology for the Royal College of Surgeons, I have visited numerous hospitals in South West Thames.

The picture of St Helier portrayed in HSJ (news and news focus, 23 August) is difficult to recognise.

The Commission for Health Improvement's report is welcomed as a valuable guide to improving the services we provide for patients and the recommendations will be acted on.

Staff at St Helier are not complacent, but the background is not that of a failing, dysfunctional hospital.

None of the numerous commendations in the CHI report have been given any prominence in your reports and, as someone who works here, I know that examples of good and excellent patient care far outweigh the average and substandard.

This biased approach has produced a sense of anger, bitterness and frustration that is not the purpose of CHI.

To achieve a balanced and fair perspective, St Helier needs to be compared with similar trusts and the comparators need to be robust.

No mention is made of the service pressures, uncertainty and loss of morale which are inevitably associated with a trust merger.

One-sided and misleading editorial comments such as a 'trust which has become infamous for its failures, a trust running hospitals in which the local population and local GPs have no faith and in which staff do not wish to work', together with derogatory and unattributable quotes, have no place in responsible journalism.

The no-blame culture that CHI and clinical governance seek to promote seems to have developed into a witch-hunt.

PJR Boyd Consultant urologist Epsom and St Helier trust