To: Don Wise, chief executive

To: Don Wise, chief executive

From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive

Re: These are a few of my favourite things

Dear Don

Did you catch Hewitt announcing new targets recently? The first, smelly one involves you and the chairman checking out all our inpatients and then seeing if they are in a blue or pink bed (sausage and sprouts in blue and others in pink).

After that you’ll need to make sure the bed colour matches the sheet colour and then you are expected to fluff up their pillows and read them a bedtime story otherwise Nanny Patty will have you over for a little spanky.

The second target was much more promising. Nanny Patty promised the select committee she would resign if the NHS didn’t balance this year. For the first time I think we have a target where the enthusiasm for the output will match our ability to deliver.

As I sat there listening to her on the radio turn a very complex policy fudge on single-sex accommodation into a simple mess, my attention wandered and my eyes closed briefly. While I could hear her voice, an image of

Julie Andrews flashed into my mind. The resemblance is uncanny, and she has played at least two famous nannies as well. It wouldn’t take much to rewrite some of the more famous songs:

  • DoH oh dear, a rear, I fear.
  • The bills will arrive with no pounds to pay for the sick.
  • A spoonful of sugar makes up for NICE banning your medicine from going down.
  • Supersillyunrealisticpolicieswithoutfocus.

Anyway, back to averting the winter crisis. We’ve shut three wards for D&V. We haven’t got it yet, but it’s cheaper to close them in advance and lay off the agency staff than quarantine the patients who’ll breach tariff length-of- stay and cost us a fortune when it happens.

Lastly, we’ve posted pre-signed sick notes to all local residents so they don’t clog up A&E asking for one because they can’t be bothered to go to work between Christmas and New Year and the GP has gone into the traditional three-week hibernation.