Good conference

The government. Sparks didn't fly in a conference that never really caught fire, leaving a clear winner in call-me-Tony's government.

Labour's lead in the polls may be slipping, but there was never a cross word here. After a Budget that outflanked those old-style grey bureaucrats by 'making available. . . almost exactly the sum we had told the secretary of state we would need at a private confederation dinner', the confed went on to get its share of seats on the modernisation action teams. 'Just whose influence had won the day is irrelevant, ' said Stephen Thornton, modestly. 'What matters now is what the government expects us to deliver for the money, ' he continued, borrowing that nice Mr Milburn's line.

Bad conference

Scottish health minister Susan Deacon. She popped in from Parliament in 'the New Scotland, a devolved Scotland'- aka 'the new devolved Scotland', 'a modern Scotland'- to explain about 'a shared vision, a shared commitment'. Sometimes shared problems and shared solutions. Why? 'Because our new Scotland is a devolved Scotland. . .'

After exhausting a rather limited vocabulary, Ms Deacon got to the interesting bit: a splendid£8.4m to provide 100 or so extra docs and another 200 nurses. Shame this came just as the Scottish NHS's£34m underspend came to light. That's around 1,200 new, shared devolved modern doctors and nurses.

Most pleased to be here

Delegates and journalists on the London to Glasgow plane that performed an interesting upward swoop manoeuvre just before landing. Always nice to miss rubbing noses with an outbound flight speeding up for take-off. After this near-death experience, the Susan Deacon sedative treatment was most welcome.

Sharpest analysis

From Professor Aidan Halligan of the National Clinical Governance Support Team. 'There are froggish bits of the NHS and there are bicycle bits. 'No, we don't know what it means, either.

Decisive moment

That close call in the electronic vote on whether delegates felt the NHS was 'a forward-looking or backward-looking organisation'.

Some delegates struggled with the dilemma of whether to vote 'Yes' or 'No'.

Not yet gone but forgotten

Sir Alan Langlands, who had earlier told delegates: 'At a time of uncertainty, it helps to be clear about what's clear.'

Not with a bang. . .

It's him again. Refusing to spill the beans, dish the dirt or have a bit of a go on the way out, Sir Alan won a magnificent four-strong standing ovation for his last ever confed address as NHS chief exec.

Best freebie

With not a stress ball or back massager in sight, sensuality is out this year. Instead, anxious confeders got through conference by saying 'step change' over and over in a calming mantra-like way and collecting free toys - yo-yos, teddies, golf balls and dice with 'run, laugh, cry, jump' on the sides. (They're not that touchy-feely - one side says 'Marsh Risk Consulting'. ) Winner by weight was the Roche bag: vitamins, bath stuff, pen (yawn), a fab foldy-cube thing - 'Would you like a T-shirt with that?' Otherwise, the fetching blood-filled syringe pen from Kennedys takes the prize.