So what's Santa going to be putting in the stockings of the NHS this year?

Having supped a few ales with the Little Helpers and got nowhere, it only took a bit of spiking of the hay to get it straight from the reindeer's mouth. (As an aside, talk about bearing a grudge: Donner and Blitzen still haven't got over that foggy night and the red-nosed thing with Rudolf: move on boys, move on!)

So coming down the chimney this year...

  • A World Class Commissioning board game for each PCT, complete with 48 red, amber and green counters, the winner to be determined by the roll of a dice. Most boxes come with only red counters, although some boxes with amber counters will be delivered to the West Midlands.

  • For the hospitals there's HRG4 Tumbling Tariffs. See if you can move one without the rest of them falling down around you. The teaching hospitals get the platinum deluxe limited edition.

  • The regulators get Trust Trap, a game involving lots of little providers working their way around a board until a crank is turned and they get trapped in a cage. The rules are not available to the players and are made up as the game progresses. Everyone is guaranteed to lose.

  • For the troops it's Strictly Come Dancing, with a pop-up Big Davie Nic as Brucie and Little Claire Chap as Tess leading us all a merry dance. And the pop-up judge and jury? You know, the usual balanced crew: the Daily Mail, The Sun, the Healthcare Commission and That Bloke Who Always Attends the Overview and Scrutiny Meeting.

  • And for the dear old patients it's Operation and doctors and nurses dressing-up kits all around, with a packet of Level 1 smoking patches to see in the new year. Because frankly we've all worked our bottoms off this year and we're looking forward to a bit of a break.

And I hope that you enjoy yours as much as I'm going to enjoy mine.

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