Letters

Your article on displaced chief executives ('The short goodbye', features, pages 24-25, 8 June) prompts a few observations. My company has helped several hundred senior managers, mainly at chief executive and director level, through the financial consequences of dismissal, redundancy, and early retirement. I have watched, with growing incredulity, the never-ending round of structural reorganisation in the NHS and the senseless waste of resources and talent, the increasing cynicism of the managerial cadre, and falling technical and ethical standards in dealing with the victims of change. I have seen a whole generation of able, experienced and committed managers brutally excised from the service.

The rationale is usually about 'cost-cutting'.Although I have my doubts, given the parallel creations of new posts (in primary care groups, for example), there may have been some overall gain in relation to the NHS budget.

Viewed from the point of view of the nation's finances as a whole, however, it makes little sense.

Given that most senior managers we have dealt with have gone into premature retirement, their 'cost' has been transferred from the NHS budget to the nation's general account. The NHS pension scheme is totally unfunded; pensions are paid on a 'pay-as-you-go' basis. Over the past decade thousands of NHS personnel have been converted from contributors to the scheme to premature liabilities.

As any actuary will tell you, this is an expensive and inefficient strategy. Short-term and narrow political expediency has taken precedence over the sensible longterm husbanding of the NHS's and the nation's human and financial resources.

The good news is that there is, as your article showed, life after the NHS. I have been mightily impressed by the resilience and resourcefulness of our clients. Having endured awful traumas, they have forged new careers and new lifestyles. In many cases, it has been a liberating experience met, ultimately, with a cheery face.

Nonetheless, I have the impression that, despite having risen from the ashes, most of those we have dealt with retain, somewhere, a deep-seated hurt and a lingering sense of loss.

Roger Taylor Managing director Altorfer Financial Management