As NHS providers increasingly have to compete for customers/patients they need to get better at marketing their services. Advertising is no longer about just providing information, it is making people want what you are selling. You’re not selling shoes; you’re selling beautiful feet.

Marketing is about identifying who is going to buy your services and making them believe only you can give them what they really want. Even if they don’t know yet that they want it!

After all, you didn’t know you wanted 3D TV until you heard how much more “real” the pictures were.

When it comes to the NHS, never underestimate the power of a pretty girl. Sex has sold everything from sofas to chocolate bars. What you need is a photogenic nurse for the promotional literature and may be a TV star from Casualty or Holby City to front the campaign.

On second thoughts that may conjure up images of old style NHS hospitals when you’re selling a five star hotel experience. You’re giving them private rooms with en suite facilities, al a carte menus and a decent wine cellar. Of course in reality the last thing on their mind before the operation will be which wine to have with the chef’s special. The staff will be pushing fluids after the op but it won’t be alcohol!

Having your own toilet is not a luxury these days but after the op you will have a catheter and be severely constipated so you won’t get much use out of it. Your own single room will at least provide you with a bit of peace and quite unlike those noisy old fashioned wards. Or it would if it wasn’t for the fact that after the op you’re on 24-hour observation which means they have put you in the room opposite the nurse station and have wedged the door open.

Now you hear all the conversations about what staff watched on TV last night, what they are having for tea tonight, why they are not going to sort out the linen cupboard before their break and what they really think of that young girl from the agency.

It’s a pity you’ll be discharged before you can enjoy the “superior experience”. But hey, at least you’re not on reality 3D TV, warts and all. Be thankful for that.