In the Gazette (April 21), there was an article on the recruitment of four new non-executive directors for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Amazingly, the trust has been looking for these replacements since May 2008.

Mark Prentice, a hospital spokesman, said the trust had “tried every trick in the book to get a chair of the audit committee”, but had failed until now.

What is even more amazing is that three of the four new directors, including the new chair of the audit committee, live within a bike ride at West Bergholt, Wivenhoe and near Sible Hedingham.

Not until the trust tried the “trick” of paying out a big fat, but undisclosed, fee, to a large national recruitment company with two London offices, and offices elsewhere, did it miraculously manage to find suitable people.

Fellow readers and members of the public, am I being over sceptical when I think this smells just a little?

The NHS, Government departments and local authorities all spend taxpayers’ money -– not private money, not their own money.

Therefore, it is right that the taxpayers should know how and what their money is being spent on.

Any public-funded organisation that refuses to divulge what and how it has spent public money has a reason.

There can be no justification for witholding this information from the public.

Consider our frontline nurses, who have had their salaries held down while NHS managers have received increases in salaries twice those of the nurses.

Who do we, the public, rely on when we are hospitalised?

Not the backroom bean counters.

Where do we want our taxes spent? Do we want to pay our frontline nurses properly, or the backroom bureaucrats who withhold information on their spending activities from the public?

Instead of having these NHS trusts recruiting their own executives, shouldn’t we have candidates for public election and allow the public to decide?

Shouldn’t we be saving the fat fee to a headhunting firm when three out of thefour live locally anyway?

Allan Hewitt
Bluebell Way