Published: 20/06/2002, Volume II2, No.5810 Page 47

Monitor has been criticised for raising the topic of sex too often, but surely once a week is not too demanding. A return, then, to last week's bright idea from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust - a test to see if prominent locals and members of the public alike are 'fit for sex'. Readers may recall that the test was a simple one: walk a measured mile down Brighton's seafront in 20 minutes without getting out of breath and you are 'officially' in shape for shagging. It is a kind of exercise equivalent - and all in aid of national men's health week. But after much consideration, Monitor proposes an alternative. The basic premise of equating a brisk walk with a bit of rumpy pumpy is no bad thing. But why not have a sextastic time between the sheets and, without the need to brave seafront gales or lumpy beach pebbles, prove yourself officially fit for a 20-minute march?

Now back to the ill-fated house of NHS Alliance supremo Dr Michael Dixon.

You know, the home stricken by unhappy happenings involving Edgar the Pacific's legs, mad monk Aethelred, an 11th-century arson attack and an unfortunate incident at a fireworks factory. Monitor forgets just how this little lot have managed to disrupt the good doctor's living arrangements, but is deeply concerned that Dr Mike - such a clean man! - is now suffering bathwater-limiting difficulties. Yes, the champion of primary care is having resourcing problems even at home! Dr Mike writes: 'Last winter the amount of water coming through the roof on an average night was sometimes more than that coming out of the taps.' And worse, it was 'even colder'. For Dr Mike's bathwater runs cold, not at the thought of another edict from Richmond House, but when the tub level reaches the less than adequate depth of just three inches.

Happily, or something like that, the hero doc has got the builders in and discovered the root of the problem. Despite the good doctor installing the largest possible hot water tank, there is only a tiny weeny boiler near the top, and 'for the past 18 years it has only been heating the upper inches of the tank'. But alas, Dr Mike says, 'there is no solution as the hot water tank cannot accommodate a large heater from the top nor (as in most, nowadays) can a heater be inserted from the bottom'. Good grief! Shifting the balance of power really is difficult. What about a side-fitted electric heating element, ponders Monitor? Meanwhile, the Alliance's finest is having to make do with just three inches in the tub. Contributions in a thermos flask direct to Dr Mike, please. And Monitor promises to send one of his most intrepid colleagues to deepest Devon to investigate further.

And now the World Cup, which managers will have noticed is in progress at the moment. County Durham and Darlington Priority Services trust was particularly quick to catch on, issuing a distinctly football-flavoured press release on 5 June - two days before that exciting England-Argentina match.

'World Cup clash as MP opens new mental health unit, ' trumpets a press release. 'As England take on Argentina in the World Cup, Durham City MP Gerry Steinberg will be opening a new centre for mental health services.' It must have been a tough call as to which of the two events was most likely to attract the attention of the world's media, and Monitor applauds the spirit of the County Durham trust for, just like Senegal, throwing itself into the fray against slightly more fancied opponents. Whether the trust can follow Senegal into the second round is another matter. But the release continues:

'Football fan Mr Steinberg will be opening the centre... at the same time as the big game begins.' This is a tad puzzling. Even if there really are people out there so keen on mental health centre openings that they are prepared to forego the most hyped-up, drama-filled, action-packed football match screened in England in four years, surely It is a bit mean to get someone who is quite definitely a football fan to do the opening and miss the match?

Monitor's heart goes out to Gerry Steinberg and all those unfortunate enough to have to put on the opening event while the rest of us were installed in a suitable hostelry with a big telly. Here, just for you, is a picture of the moment you missed.