In HSJ of 27 July, a woman wrote in to 'Dear Mel' to say that her hospital social club had been used on one occasion by women for a hen night (with male strippers) and by men (probably with female strippers) on another. Why is it, then, 'a blast' for the women and 'unacceptable sexism' for the men?

Are you implying that it is OK for women to see male strippers, but if men have a female stripper it is wrong? At first I thought it was a joke, but on second reading I wasn't sure, hence the e-mail. Let me know either way. . .

'Confused', Tunbridge Wells

You certainly are confused. 'Either way' eh? What do you take me for, big boy?

But to be serious: practitioners in the counselling industry often have to put up with people accusing them of being quacks, sad, comedians or psycho-babblists.

This is clearly a socio-pathetic auto response reactivity. The real point here is that the women regard the male strippers as an art form, which makes it acceptable (see Emin, Hirst et al) while men see the female strippers as old slappers, which isn't very nice at all. It's a bit like nurses getting a tea break in the canteen while managers have to take their tea at their desks. See what I mean?

Can you explain how my hospital was affected by the recent fuel dispute? We have massive stocks of everything important (except linen, of course) like everyone else, so we didn't have any problems. Then along comes Mr Milburn, saying we're all on red alert and we've got to cancel non-emergency admissions. What's going on and will it mean we get red-lighted when our waiting lists go up again?

Tanker, Grangemouth

How ungrateful can you get? Uncle Milburn takes firm, decisive action to prevent your patients dying in the event of being attacked by deranged farmers and haulage contractors, and this is your response. If you think I'm being too harsh, look what happened to all the cows under the last government. The reason you're short of sheets is that the protesters have used them to paint abusive banners. Fuel shortages are quite common (we had them in the '70s and the '40s), so you really should have seen it coming. I'm afraid the impact on your waiting lists will therefore be your fault and it would be most unkind to blame that nice Dr Milburn.