In a week when fans of colourful politics are mourning the death of Screaming Lord Sutch, similarly minded observers of health politics have cause both for sadness and celebration.

Sadness, because the promotion of Ann Widdecombe will leave a gap which no-one could have predicted a little over a year ago when she was appointed shadow health secretary. Since then, she has become the nation's most unlikely darling - for reasons not immediately easy to discern.

Celebration, because her successor promises to be equally diverting - if for totally different reasons. Unlike Miss Widdecombe, Dr Liam Fox is a self-proclaimed lover of a good time, of pubs and clubs. He was also a supporter of former home secretary Michael Howard, for whom Miss Widdecombe acted as nemesis.

Despite the European election result, the Conservatives are still a long way from power and bereft of a coherent and convincing health policy. So in the meantime, on behalf of NHS managers, we thank Dr Fox in anticipation for the many hours of light relief he promises from Westminster's usually dreary effect on the health service.