Your article on 7 December ( Monitor will demand service level figures from foundation trusts) refers to general comments I made during last month's NHS Alliance conference about the importance of effective partnership working in the NHS.

Your article on 7 December ( Monitor will demand service level figures from foundation trusts) refers to general comments I made during last month's NHS Alliance conference about the importance of effective partnership working in the NHS.

The article inferred that I was being critical of Monitor's Compliance Framework, which is being developed to ensure effective monitoring of compliance by NHS foundation trusts with their terms of authorisation. This is inaccurate. I was not criticising Monitor and neither was I commenting on their proposed changes to the Compliance Framework.

The serious point I was making was that as NHS reforms bed in, we must be careful to ensure that NHS foundation trusts and NHS trusts continue to work in co-operation with PCTs to form a shared health economy view that supports the ambition set out in our White Paper Our health, our care, our sayand deliver the best possible and locally relevant healthcare to NHS patients. Only effective and well developed relationships between commissioner and provider will guarantee this. Although more services will increasingly be offered in the community, high performing acute providers will continue to be an integral part of the NHS.

If there is any lack of transparency on the duty of co-operation between commissioner and provider then we must ensure that we are absolutely clear on what is expected from both parties. I know that Monitor share this view.

We are looking to PCTs working in partnership with the NHS and Local Authorities to ensure that commissioning makes an increasing contribution towards supporting the needs of patients, and gives patients more control over their care. We have been working closely with Monitor to help clarify the commissioning and contracting process between PCTs and NHS foundation trusts and this will only help to deliver locally responsive patient centred services for the NHS.

Patricia Hewitt

Secretary of State for Health