Your otherwise excellent summary of the career of Nye Bevan (8 February) was lacking in just one respect - his deep devotion to the cause of improving audiology services on the NHS. As you will know, it was dear old Ernie himself who said that, as minister, he felt that 'the clatter of a bedpan dropped by a ward orderly in Llangollen should resound in his office in Whitehall'. He would therefore have approved wholeheartedly of the current government's decision to make the resources available for digital hearing aids, without which such a feat would clearly have been impossible.
A Milburn (Mrs) Whitehall
Yes, you're right. Ernie Bevan did have a serious hearing problem and people often misunderstood him. Actually Mr Mandelson has the same complaint. However, the digital hearing aid is only part of the solution. This is really what NHSnet is all about. You see, even the best possible hearing aid can't amplify in London a sound created in Llangollen without having a hugely expensive network of cables to transmit on. This is a great development because it means that the secretary of state can now hear anything said anywhere in the NHS - especially Bedford. This is why the NHS is so much better managed than it was in Nye Bevin's day. In those days you listened to the minister, now It is the other way round. Some shortsighted people might see this as a threat. It is not, of course. Alan and his pals enjoy a good laugh as much as anyone else, so keep up your uninhibited little chats. By the way, you might speak up a bit when you're standing near a computer.
What do you think of Beverly Malone, who has been offered the job of new gen sec of the RCN ?
Well she's a very nice person. I met her once when I was doing an advanced psycho-constructional counselling course at UCLA. Of course, as an American she might have a tendency to use jargon and fix people with an intense but caring stare while speaking at length about some esoteric subject. No change there, then. However, she was also elected by a popular vote, so That is OK. As we know, popular votes always determine policy. That is why we are still in the EU, do not have flogging and bigamy is still illegal. Roll on 4 May.