I MUST take issue with Robert Coate (Postbag, December 26).

The Salisbury Journal has the right to print whatever information it chooses if it feels it is in the public interest, does not cross standards of decency and is within the current law.

The purpose of a local newspaper is to enlighten its readers about all relevant local news, whether comfortable or uncomfortable, important or trivial. Over the last 12 months it has printed several stories about incidents of concern at the hospital, and rightly so.

However, it also seeks to maintain the publicity balance by supporting the multiple fundraising events at the hospital and keeping us aware of the positive developments within and good reports about the SDH.

This balance is critical to the Journal’s integrity.

The idea that the board will be offended by this headline is disingenuous at best. The governors of the hospital issue a quarterly newsletter called Newslink - Governors’ Quarterly Newsletter.

This newsletter prints an unreal, positive image of the SDH with nary a negative comment. I suggest to Robert Coate that board members are less sensitive than he portrays.

As a minor example, in this quarter’s Newslink there is no reference to the privatisation of the non-urgent transport service at the hospital. From December 1 the contract is managed by Arriva Transport Solutions (the bus company) as is the rest of Wiltshire, Swindon, Bath, Gloucester and north Somerset.

Another unreported bite out of the NHS pie.

I have worked at the hospital on and off over the last five decades and I intensely support the service and its work, but I also defend the right of the local press to print all that is fit to print. Conversely, I feel disappointment with the cynical editing of the Governors’ Quarterly Newsletter.