Summer is here. How do we know? Because the newspapers are full of utterly mad health stories.
But nestling among news of helicopter raids on killer mosquitoes is some salient advice for health managers.
It comes from none other than Phones 4U founder John Caudwell, who has “strong ideas on how to cut public spending” (Mail on Sunday).
The NHS is “run sloppily”, Mr Caudwell says: “I could save millions in one day. I could almost take my housekeeper and say ‘Ring round the electric companies - we’re buying 10 billion units of electricity at 9p. Let’s give that to one supplier, let them know they are going to have to be on their mettle and that every year they are going to get screwed without fail’.”
Well, the negotiation technique seems a little more aggressive than what’s outlined under market stimulation in world class commissioning, but just in case you haven’t thought of it yet, it’s probably worth putting your hospital’s electricity bill into your favourite price checking website and seeing what comes up.
NHS managers might be able to offer Mr Caudwell some advice in return - he often travels from “the extraordinary comfort of his £7m 50-room Jacobean manor in Staffordshire” to business meetings by personal helicopter. Clearly he needs the NHS Sustainable Development Unit.
Elsewhere, health ministers have been digging deep to right the wrongs of the expenses furore.
Phil Hope has coughed up the most so far - £42,674 to cover the costs of furniture for a “conspicuously small London flat”, the Evening Standard reports.
And, according to the Daily Express, health secretary Andy Burnham, who livened up his NHS Confederation conference speech with a few expenses gags, has paid back £2,742 for “blunders by officials”.