Letters

You referred to the management style operating in the NHS during the 1950s and 1960s (Comment, 16 April) and ask what aspects of today's NHS will appear equally absurd to those contemplating the service's centenary in 50 years? Here are two examples.

First, the expensive early retirement phenomenon which has allowed senior managers to leave the service and then seek a second income from it as management consultants or late-entry academics. They should have remained in the service.

Second, the misuse of computer systems as reported by the Audit Commission. The commission found serious misuse of such systems had occurred in almost half of all NHS organisations in the past three years, that management grade staff carried out 28 per cent of abuses, and that downloading pornography from the Internet accounted for 8 per cent of incidents. Is this one of the reasons why the NHS is ever in need of more funds?

There should be no place in the service for such idle hands. How many of those responsible have been disciplined, suspended and dismissed, as became the lot of certain local authority staff for similar offences? How many have been reported to the police, or have they simply been counselled not to repeat the offence? Can health secretary Frank Dobson please tell us?

John Guy, Barnard Castle, Co Durham.