'Sex. It is dirty. It is wrong. It is immoral. It is a no-go zone. ' Monitor was the first to applaud when this press release dropped through the letterbox. It captures in an instant the message we need to send out to young generations hungry to explore hormonal urges. Over the years, Monitor has despaired as governments come and go, each one failing to grasp this particular nettle. But it was particularly refreshing to see who is finally leading the way. The press release came from Brook - the publishing arm of Brook Advisory Clinics - those well-meaning people who spend their time distributing slightly abrasive condoms and liberal advice. But what's this? Monitor read on . . . The message which led off their latest press release turns out to be a collection of quotes from well-rounded teenagers. Shockingly, Brook describes their mature views as 'confusing, conflicting and destructive'. Confusing? Dirty, wrong and immoral sounds like a pretty coherent view, in Monitor's book.
Meanwhile, It is March already - and yet the paraphernalia that clogged up Monitor Towers for the week surrounding 14 February has yet to abate. Barbara Cartland, God rest her soul, would have been shocked to see the occasion of love and courtship hijacked by politicians, impotent men, community health councils and charities. The limpest of all these subjects has perhaps already been exhausted. Time, then, for a run-down on how the most romantic day in the calendar became warped by other bizarre agendas. Take the British Heart Foundation and its new video launched on Valentine's day. The racy film aims to prove 'there is a sex-life after a heart attack'. What, immediately? Monitor is not sure the investment in fast-track coronary heart disease care had ambulatory sex in mind. The mind boggles.
St Valentine's day also brought out those professional whingers and bastions of accountability we call CHCs. They marched on the House of Commons in an attempt to generate Valentine's Day Massacre headlines. Or so they hoped. Euthanasia really wouldn't have the same ring.
And in the Lords, the place one might hope to find courtly rituals and ladies in tiaras, one Baroness Strange was doing her bit to contribute towards the sickly factor. 'My lords, today being St Valentine's day, would the minister agree that all noble lords in this House would like to send Valentine messages to all nurses and doctors working in the NHS?' she asked. Well our most lorded Brummie was really in a corner now. He could hardly say no.
Graciously, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath saluted this 'really splendid suggestion' as something which 'would do wonders for the morale of staff in the health service'.
Monitor would like to request any doctors or nurses accidentally perusing this page to get in touch so HSJ can scientifically measure the surge of morale which doubtless followed.
But enough of smut (only for this week - no need for tears). On to the cheery leaflet just out from the British Lung Foundation (see left). Depressingly, it is called 'Going on holiday with a lung condition'. To be fair, while it is easy enough to leave a passport or tickets behind, leaving a lung condition on the kitchen sideboard seems less of a risk.
Meanwhile, poor poor nurses. They really are angels and never do anything wrong. And we should salute them as often as we can, especially you fat cat pen-pushers with more money than sense. But not to worry - the Department of Health has the answer. Confusingly, though, it plans to use Nurses day (12 May) to point out that 'Every day is nurses day'. So what is 12 May, then?
Monitor goes to all the best parties, and likes to consider Jamie Theakston, Lulu and the Nolan sisters among his closest friends. Still, imagine the excitement when HSJ allowed him into the smartest of smart sets. The launch of HSJ's own clinical governance CDROM was the excuse - and with top names like Liam Donaldson and Peter Homa floating about, one can just imagine the ratio of TV gardening celebs to policy bores. Yes, anyone who was ANYONE was there and Monitor counted himself lucky when the nice chap on reception handed over a security tag allowing entry. Obviously Monitor is not the thieving sort, but accidentally the badge was retained. And the instructions it provides on emergency evacuation procedures make frightening reading. 'Do not be afraid to shout fire!' it shouts. Monitor would have thought a small amount of caution might be in order. Particularly when your assembly point directly faces the Ministry of Defence.