Letters

In your news story, 'Funding shortfall as intermediate care loses out to local pressures' (pages 6-7, 25 January), you state that£500m of the£900m announced in the NHS plan for intermediate care services will now go to local authorities without being ringfenced. This raises the prospect of money which health professionals believed would be spent on care, being spent potentially on road repairs and rubbish collections.

You state that the remaining£405m will be going to the NHS; this figure includes£150m (in addition to the£900m) announced before the NHS plan was published. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is concerned that in fact only£255m (ie 28 per cent) of the£900m in the NHS plan will find its ways into the health service.

Consequently we are calling on the government to make clear: how the split of£255m to health and£645m to social services was determined; how much new money is being made available to local authorities for the purpose of intermediate care; the means by which this money is being made available to local authorities; how it will guarantee that this money is used to provide intermediate care services as envisaged in the NHS plan (ie how will it ensure that the money is ringfenced for intermediate care).

This debate is especially timely considering the Scottish Executive's recent offer of free personal care for elderly people.

The Westminster government rejected the royal commission's recommendation; instead, health secretary Alan Milburn promised to invest the money in other services for elderly people - for example, in rehabilitation and intermediate care. It now transpires that perhaps twothirds of the money promised for intermediate care is in doubt.

Older people and NHS staff deserve clarity before doubt turns to cynicism.

Phil Gray Chief executive Chartered Society of Physiotherapy London WC1