Sir.-I feel certain that, like myself, many patients at Mr Matich's practice will have been saddened at the news conveyed in your front page article last Thursday.

While the facts, as reported, may not engender sympathy for this gentleman's plight, I suggest we consider the not irrelevant matter of the dearth of dentists prepared to practice under the terms laid down by the National Health Service.

It is evident from the frequent television pictures of queues of patients seeking registration with an NHS dental practice that the few people prepared to work in the public service face excep-tional pressures.

Was this a factor in Mr Matich's case?

I hope the outcome will be less bleak for all concerned - staff and patients - than seems to be threatened.

-W J Allford, Park Gardens, Basingstoke.