Published: 19/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5823 Page

We are introducing a new video-on-demand system to keep patients happy while they wait in accident and emergency or outpatients. Which films do you recommend?

Director, Hollywood

What do you mean 'while your patients are waiting'?

You need to put an end to that nonsense straight away. No-one else in the NHS has patients waiting for anything, so you'd better keep it quiet in case Mr M finds out. However inpatients are a different matter, so you'll probably only need two films on a continuous loop, no-one will ever see them twice. Now you do not want anything that might inflame them, so nothing with Sharon Stone or Brad Pitt please. And you do not want to worry them either, so no medical dramas or terminal cancer weepies. They mustn't get too excited, so John Wayne and Sylvester Stallone are out. Margaret Rutherford and Terry Thomas films might be a good idea. Whatever you do, do not have any Carry On films. Mr M is thinking of using them for CHI inspector training.

What is a 'hospital at home'? I've tried to buy one but I can't seem to find any. Please help.

Confused, Brent

You silly billy. You can't buy a hospital at home. You have to encourage your patients to develop their own.

This is one of Mr Blair's big ideas. Now that everyone is so fit and disease free, the odd patient who insists on succumbing to a self-inflicted illness should rely on self help to treat themself at home. Everyone's got a few knives and sewing kits in the kitchen drawer, so why duplicate? If they get stuck on a surgical procedure, they can always phone NHS Direct for advice and pop round to Boots for any drugs. Can you see the pattern developing? Yes! Doctor-free health services. It will save millions and make all those PPP hospitals viable again. But I hear you saying: 'What about accidents?'

Well this is the really clever bit. Mr Prescott is closing down air routes and railways and Mr Livingstone is getting rid of cars in London. So soon there will not be any accidents either. Brilliant.

Why not let Mel help solve your problem?

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