‘As for selection processes, we still can’t fathom them. It used to be so simple: either failed politicians found a way to boost their pension or successful ones got their wives out of the way a few days a month’.
To: Don Wise, chief executive
From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive
Highly confidential memo
The chairman’s sudden death at the age of 115 has come as a terrible blow to us all. We all have fond memories of him and did so enjoy you having to shout in his one half-good ear: ‘I’M THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE.’
I am also sure that the chairman would have been comforted in his last hours by knowing that he avoided breaching the four-hour accident and emergency target by being admitted to maternity and transferred between sites twice.
He was always discreet about his status in the hospital and never liked to trouble staff, which explains why the sister of the ward where he spent his last few days didn’t alert us to his presence.
I have prepared a few words for you to say at the memorial service and provided you with a picture list of the other non-executive directors so that you can put names to faces when you meet them at the chapel.
I have been trying to explain to colleagues how his successor will be chosen and the advantages that our non-executives bring to us.
The benefit is obvious; independently minded people of achievement with deep roots in the local community diligently probing the local NHS have been essential in ensuring that trusts balance their books, reduce MRSA and waiting times, collaborate closely across boundaries and with local government, and ensure local political harmony on health matters.
As for selection processes, we still can’t fathom them. It used to be so simple: either failed politicians found a way to boost their pension or successful ones got their wives out of the way a few days a month, or local parties, horrified at the thought of having to select a cretin for election, could park them with us instead.
Now the process is much more transparent. The stork drops off the little bundle of non-executive joy who, when unwrapped, looks as bemused as we are about their arrival and purpose in life.