A feat for fans of convoluted or plain worrying metaphors at this year’s Foundation Trust Network conference.
Jeremy Hunt urged people to join the boards of troubled NHS organisations by citing the advert the explorer Shackleton is supposed to have placed in The Times.
You know, the one with reference to danger, disablement and death with the reward being glory. The message seemed to be “become a NED, lose the feeling in your feet”.
The speech of KPMG’s intergalactic head of health Mark Britnell was also a treat for metaphor fans.
He seemed to be making some kind of point about the overly hierarchical nature of the NHS by saying “our mental construct of healthcare resembles All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Presumably he meant the verse: “The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate” – and not the one about a “purple headed mountain” that made End Game snigger in assembly.
The widely but ultimately wrongly tipped “next head of NHS England” also recognised the frustration of execs in the room who have had their reconfigurations pulled by lily-livered politicians.
Mr Britnell treated them to this: “We have to float political boats and service submarines that bob back up majestically and royally after the election unchanged.”
“Dive! Dive! Dive!” as submarine commanders are prone to say.