SUMMERTIME BLUES MELANIE DE STRANGE KNOWS IT'S AGONY OUT THERE

I have an aversion to lists. My therapist tells me that I must face up to this squarely or my career may be damaged. Is this true?

Co-ordinator, Northampton

Who doesn't share your aversion? But your therapist is right. This is because the new NHS is devoted to lists and tables of all types - higher performance, complaints, periodontal deaths and so on. But the one you must crack is the waiting type. Get over your problem with your waiting list and everything else will pale into insignificance. My advice is to classify anything with an '-oscopy' at the end as planned, and therefore not waiting. This should do the trick. If all else fails, leave a few ward windows open overnight to create some more beds.

What was Project 2000?

Confused, London

This is an easy one. Project 2000 was a computer bug first identified at the Royal College of Nursing in the 1980s, which would have produced a severe nursing shortage by the year 2000 if action had not been taken quickly. Luckily, the health secretary has said that lots more nurses will be built under the private finance initiative, so that's alright.

My trust board has decided to publish its minutes. Clearly they will need editing. Can you advise me on a suitable style?

Tennyson, Cambridge.

What a good idea! Avoid jargon: words like 'explain', 'do' and 'agree' should be carefully replaced so as not to confuse the public. Try 'reveal the underlying verisimilitude within reason...' 'undertake with all due caution having regard to the known facts...' and 'achieving a consensual confluence of opinion'. Minutes in the New NHS should be open, honest and accountable while supporting the drive for lifelong learning and providing a verifiable means of ensuring health improvement. For example, they should be printed on heavyweight paper. The effort of turning the pages will therefore add to the general requirement to increase the taking of moderate exercise and should avoid the wasting of wrist muscles. See, it's easy. I'm sure you can think up many other advantages for yourself.

PS. Your regional office will have a copy of The New NHS Thesaurus: New NHS - New Speak.

My new boyfriend is a trust executive. He keeps talking in his sleep, calling out 'clinical governess'. I fear he has a fetish about some form of domination. How can I help him?

High Heels, Essex.

How I wish yours was the only letter I have received on this topic. Clinical Governess is a new proprietary aphrodisiac which is only partly available on the NHS (it's a bit like Viagra, but its effects are completely internal). I expect your boyfriend is one of those poor people who does not fit the prescribing protocols. A failure to obtain Clinical Governess can be very injurious to health. Indeed, if he fails to achieve it for any length of time he may have to find alternative employment. It's that serious. However, help is at hand. Try to get him to work for the private sector. It doesn't seem to be a problem there.

My hospital is soon to open a substance abuse clinic. Have you any general advice?

Diamorph, Glasgow.

Oh dear! The abuse of substance is certainly a hot potato for the New NHS. The government puts a high priority on overcoming substance, and so far the results are encouraging. Regional offices have been quite successful in producing policies to overcome substance, but work remains to be done to cascade the lessons and show a real health gain. Action to do something about substance abuse is overdue, and there are significant regional variations in the incidence of substance. London, for example, has almost eradicated it, while in Wales and Scotland there are worrying signs that the use of substance is still a major challenge for the new assemblies and their impact on the New NHS. As far as your clinic is concerned, I would recommend aversion therapy: every time someone says anything of substance, administer a small electric shock to their contract of employment. This has shown remarkably effective outcomes. If all else fails, those who are hopelessly addicted to substance can be treated with methadone.