I whole-heartedly concur with the views expressed by Martyn Smith of the West Birmingham CHC ('So CHCs know nothing about older people?', letters, page 21, 17 May). We too feel marginalised by the Department of Health in relation to its work on the national service framework for older people.

There are almost half a million people in residential homes and nursing homes throughout the United Kingdom and yet a government which sets out to be as inclusive as possible chose to exclude the providers of longterm care in its deliberations on the national service framework for older people.

Both I and a colleague in another representative body of nursing homes wrote to minister of health John Hutton with specific responsibility for older people offering our services. Both of our offers were declined.

It is a sad reflection that the national service framework for older people actually pays scant regard to the half a million people for whom residential or nursing home care is the most appropriate form of care - other than to offer an alternative at home and stricter standards in the provision of long-term care.

Frank Ursell Chief executive officer Registered Nursing Home Association