Everyone was looking the other way on 16 June when the Financial Timesbroke the story that the government was advertising for private sector primary care trust management services.

Everyone was looking the other way on 16 June when the Financial Timesbroke the story that the government was advertising for private sector primary care trust management services.

Perhaps it had something to do with collective sore heads, as it appeared the day after England beat Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup and managers had their annual dinner-and-dancing shindig at the NHS Confederation conference.

However, someone was certainly awake last week when HSJfollowed up the story. It went out to subscribers on our early news alert e-mail on Wednesday and in the magazine on Thursday.

Subsequent front page stories in The Guardianand The Timeson Friday and a mention during a Todayprogramme interview with Labour Party chair Hazel Blears led to a withdrawal of the advertisement.

A statement attributed to health secretary Patricia Hewitt was subsequently rushed out, claiming any concerns that the move was in effect putting a 'for sale' sign on the NHS was down to 'drafting errors'.

We will see how the saga unfolds as the TUC and sympathetic Guardianhacks gear up to do battle.

Meanwhile, glad to see Hospital Doctoreditor Mike Broad doing his bit for doctor-manager relations. Speaking to the Daily Mailabout a survey that revealed most hospital doctors think smokers, drinkers and fat people should be made to pay for surgery for self-inflicted conditions, he said the 'key message' is that if rationing is necessary then doctors not managers should make the decisions, because 'at least it would be ethical'.