Published: 03/10/2002 Volume II2, No.5825 Page

I am expecting a new baby later this year and I can't decide on a name. I would like to choose something that might help the baby in an NHS career in the future. Any ideas?

Hubbard, Gloucester

Well I am honoured! I have never been asked this question before, but then most of my friends are married to their work and do not have time for that sort of thing. We'll do boys' names first. Easy: Tony or Alan, of course, with Gordon as a possibility. Mind you, when the little dot is old enough to take his place in the front line there will be so many of these that you might wish to consider something else.

Karl or Leon might be popular again by then, or maybe even Winston. Perhaps you should hedge your bets a bit with something non-political as a middle name, how about Barrymore or maybe Schwarzkopf, but I think the most appropriate would be Mainwaring. Girls' names are a bit easier.

You need a good role model and someone who exemplifies family values, so it just has to be Posh.

I am sure I read recently that despite receiving more public money than ever before, the NHS managed to treat fewer patients in 2001 than in previous years. How can this be?

Alexander, Strathclyde

Well it is a bit of a poser, is not it? But when you think about it the reason is obvious (and I've mentioned this before), we have started to run out of patients! I suppose it was bound to happen. After all, if you get rid of waiting lists and then stop people getting cancer and heart attacks through national strategies, what else would you expect? One littlerecognised fact is that we have loads of new hospitals.

Indeed, I am told there are none over 20 years old now. And, as everyone knows, new hospitals treat fewer patients than old hospitals (this is another reason why public-private partnership schemes are such a good idea). So thinking caps on! What will we do with all our beds? Well certainly we might actually be able to introduce hospital hotels properly, with four AA stars and loads of US tourists (Saddam Hussein permitting of course).

Why not let Mel help solve your problem?

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