Published: 13/06/2002, Volume II2, No.5809 Page 104

I have just bought a new mobile phone and I was wondering if you have any advice on a suitable ring tone for an NHS employee ?

Gadget freak, London

Well, the first thing you must do is make sure you remember to turn the phone off when you're in the office because it can disturb your concentration. Why not get one of those with a single high-pitched tone that goes on and on? I was in an intensive treatment unit in a London hospital recently (advising on aromatherapy alternatives to defibrillation if you must know...) when someone's phone went off with exactly this noise. My, it does get people jumping about! It turns out that it belonged to a patient who couldn't take the call, so a nurse just switched it off. Anyway, my favourite mobile tone is Megadeth, which lots of people comment upon - especially during therapy sessions. do not forget to be careful when using a mobile near heart monitors and other complex medical machinery as they give off electro-magnetic waves which can make your calls break up.

With your long history of involvement in the higher reaches of NHS management can you tell us who has been your favourite health minister?

Fawner, Westminster

That is dead easy - its marvellous Milburn, of course.

He's got everything - looks, charm and er... Mind you, his assistant Lord Whatsisname would run him a close second. And that what's her name? Yvette know...eyes and teeth...the one who's just gone to the Lord Chancellor's Department. She would probably come third.

Anyway, if I was forced to choose someone else it would be a difficult decision. I always had a soft spot for Ken Clarke. Virginia Bottomley was so approachable and a born compromiser. Barbara Castle was OK until she decided to ban private practice - it wouldn't work today, no sirree. Added to which, I believe that Aneurin Bevan once kissed my grandmother's hand at a meeting of the Tredegar branch of the Institute of Health Services Management, so I suppose he's on the list.

But I think my favourite health minister must be a tie between that bloke who zoomed in, up and out - John someone or other - and Gerard Vaughan, a doctor who did so many good things that people still talk about him.

Why not let Mel help solve your problem?

E-mail her, in the strictest confidence, at: Mdestrange@ emap. com