The prime minister is shortly to open a new hospital wing in my trust. However, he will be accompanied by Sir Alastair Campbell.

What is the proper protocol for such an event?

'Worried', Norfolk Worry no more! Sir Alastair is a dead ordinary bloke who likes the same things as the rest of us - roasted peppers, polenta, deference. He's really quite unassuming. The key thing is to remember that when the PM's car arrives it will be Sir A and not TB who leaps out first. Make sure that the press and TV are clearly visible to him and you should have no trouble.

It is also a little-known fact that Sir Alastair is allergic to doctors and nurses, so keep them out of the way in the interests of public health.

Finally, when the PM reads his speech, make sure the copy on the rostrum is the same as the one Sir A will already have sent you. There was a problem at a recent BBC Newsnight programme in this respect some weeks ago, and it has caused no end of trouble and expense.

As an aspiring senior house officer I am considering which specialty I should opt for when I become a consultant. Any suggestions?

'Axel', Holland

Well, you need to decide two things. First, do you want to be able to earn a six-figure salary from private practice?

Second, do you want a seat in the new House of Lords? The two sometimes go together (especially if you opt for fertility treatments), but more usually they are mutually exclusive unless we have a Conservative government. But I suppose you need to decide before 2020.

To take the salary option first: choose a specialty which enables you to treat a large number of sad cases. Tattoo removal and cheek implants are probably best. Alternatively, you could become a dentist.

As for the House of Lords, it's really easy: join New Labour (though I'm sure you'll have done this already) and spend 20 years doing a worthy job somewhere (community physicians do best).

Whatever you do, don't become a leading light in the British Medical Association or the Socialist Health Association.

Try the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Groucho Club instead. Good luck, m'lord!

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