LETTERS

The Labour government appears firm in pushing forward with more public/private partnerships but the unions remain unhappy.

Part of the problem here is a clash of values, but also closed minds. Bob Hudson's comments ('Over the wall', page 18, 9 August) nicely illustrate this anti private sector view.

The same kind of views are expressed in a recent British Medical Journal article with a rant against the pharmaceutical industry. One industry magazine recently included a practical guide to medical education and a staff member at the BMJ responded with a piece entitled 'Are you being duped? How drug companies use opinion leaders', which makes comment on the 'inappropriate use of influential professionals as pawns in the game of marketing'.

He has a very low opinion of doctors if he thinks they can be duped so easily.

I think we really need to calm down a bit here.

In terms of developing partnerships with the private sector, what is required is sensible, adult discussion and it is about time that adversarial 'politics' are put to one side for the benefit of patients. Let's move on and park these particular items of baggage.

Pharmaceutical companies are private companies and so they market their wares to generate sales and profit. It is surely right that important new medicines are brought to the attention of 'key opinion leaders'. Why is the word 'profit' so denigrated?

After all, the NHS is triaged by private business men seeking to make a profit - they're called GPs and community pharmacists.

A view that says 'I will never ever have anything to do with the pharmaceutical industry' is not helpful.

If the NHS is to achieve true partnerships with the private sector, by all means let's have debate but please let's do it in a sensible and less heated fashion.

Alan D Jones Director, ajc healthcare Petersfield, Hampshire