In his feature 'Push me, pull you' (pages 30-31, 22 March), Tom Smith states that 'the university cannot educate its students without the educational contribution of consultants'.
Actually, universities manage pretty well educating the majority of their students without such a contribution, because most study subjects other than medicine (or perhaps dentistry).
That Tom Smith leaves it implicit that he is talking solely about medicine is not merely a trivial drafting point, since it overlooks the fact that many UK universities other than those with medicine have a relationship with the NHS, and that this involves a large volume of students. Primarily this is through the quasi-market of non-medical education and training commissioning, the subject of a recent National Audit Office report.
If the messages about partnership and interprofessional working in Department of Health documents such as A Health Service of All the Talents are to be put into practice, organisations such as the Nuffield Trust need to take these other relationships between the NHS and universities into account in their deliberations, and, we hope, ensure that they are represented in the UK-wide forum which is currently being developed.
Liz Meerabeau Head of the School of Health University of Greenwich