I have been applying for numerous chief executive jobs, and despite having worked in the NHS for 15 years I have been unsuccessful so far. Can you help?

Portillista, Yorks

Well, your nom de plume doesn't fill me with confidence!

However, if you have been in the NHS for 15 years then you're too old, I am afraid. You might be lucky and pick up something in an area where no one wants to work. Try applying to Birmingham or, of course, anywhere in London. Primary care trusts might be a fruitful area to consider, especially as not many of them know what they are doing. Most important, you must pay attention to your presentation. Armani suits and cufflinks are particularly passe now. The new young duffer look is best. A simple dark suit from M&S shows dependability, and a slightly florid tie will help. Female applicants should go for the former matron two-piece look.

After such a long time in the NHS you'll have a few skeletons in your cupboard, or you'll know where some are hidden. This makes you a big risk. Why not try the Commission for Health Improvement? They need people who are clever enough to ferret out the skeletons and experienced enough to realise they shouldn't be publicised. Good luck.

PS. If all else fails, There is the private sector.

I was looking through some old papers the other day to find a justification for our expenditure problems and I came across a reference to 'RAWP'. What is this and will it help ?

Beanie, north London

Whoah! Looking through old stuff is very dangerous unless it is more than 30 years old, in which case it might be helpful to understand the current organisation of the NHS. But I digress. RAWP is an acroprop from the 1970s, and is all about closing longterm psychiatric hospitals in London and the Home Counties in order to transfer resources to community services. Unfortunately the money ran out after the first phase. Of course, when Mrs Thatcher came to power, she got rid of it and substituted a different system which closed acute hospitals in London instead.

In essence RAWP was a formula which enabled you to prove you had too many beds in whichever sector you studied, so It is a bit like creating PCTs. Watch your step!