Published: 07/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5808 Page 20

What a scoop for Monitor (16 May) about my hair - the revelation that I use shampoo must have kept your best investigative journalists occupied for weeks. But their research was not thorough.

They should have uncovered the fact that less than 17 months ago I completed a very invasive six-month period of continuous chemotherapy, following major surgery. During that bleak time in my life, there were many weeks when I could only dream of using shampoo again.

Happily I now can and do, and that is thanks to the professionalism, dedication and kindness of the whole NHS health team. And if your story gives your readers some lighthearted relief, who am I to complain?

But I am sure they would far prefer to read how Unison is standing up for nurses, nursing care assistants and all NHS workers - real issues - not some piece of fiction about whether 'I do a Tony'.

Dave Prentis General secretary Unison The editor replies: We apologise unreservedly to Mr Prentis. Had we been made aware of his illness, we would of course not have published the story.