monitor

Monitor is still seeing stars! It all began with plans to get rid of the traffic lights at the junction for Monitor-de-la-Zouche.

In-depth analysis had revealed that nobody really liked stopping, as such, and people much preferred green lights to red. Reverend Milburn came up with a super idea;

how about making everybody drive ever-so slowly instead and hoping that pedestrians got the hint. He even drew up a prototype for traffic lights with burnished orange and cherrypink shades, but nothing you could strictly call red. Which would have been fine, except noone could spot the difference in the dark.

It was time to 'think out of the box'. A focus group was hosted by Mrs Monitor (who made a lovely spread - and thanks for that! ) to look at innovative ways for pedestrians to get from one pavement to another. Grandma Monitor - rather more of a modern Monitor than she might appear - took to the floor to kick off what used to be called a brainstorm before the ECT collective took offence. Soon everyone was settled on plans to bring in a beacon crossing. Until sharp-eyed advisors from the parish council grew concerned at the associations of the word 'crossing' - deriving as it does from the unfriendly word 'cross'. They suggested that the best way to bring back the village 'feelgood factor' would be to get rid of all obstructions. So now we are all seeing stars!

Aesop might have told it better, but for troubled women like Ruth ('what are they called again? Green stars?') Carnall, the parable underlines some shocking truths. After all, just weeks before the stars shone the Department of Health printed a briefing for all trusts asking them what colour they were and whether they expected to be yellow or green by next year.

Trusts who expect to be yellow or green by next year have got more than performance 'issues' to worry about, Monitor suggests. The note also asked trusts if they had any 'famous or high-profile patients' in the last financial year. Finally, the 'balanced scorecard' makes sense. But which is better: a Kray or two stars?

Meanwhile, exciting news from Ultramed Limited revealing that Ultramed has launched the Ultra DayLite (see left), which is, UltraMed boasts, a 'disposal, portable urinal'. But It is more than that. Not only does Ultra DayLite 'provide freedom of movement' (messy! ), but it also 'builds confidence'. And it is 'not only for the elderly and infirm', but also for the lazy or those who lack imagination when faced with the combination of a full bladder and a shady tree.

That is right, Ultra DayLite is not just for mobility clubs and other care groups but also for the more able-bodied - those 'for example travelling on mini-buses, boats and other transportation' (the bicycle, perhaps? ). 'The device has even wider application in areas where toilets are unavailable and, for example, is regularly used by the Swedish army during convoy'. Not only is the UltraDayLite inexpensive and disposable, it also, claims Ultramed Limited, has 'finesse'. In so far as a small plastic bag designed to carry warm urine can.

Sometimes Monitor is aware - in particular when he meets the vibrant young things who are today's health service professionals - that not every job is as lively and darn well interesting as his own. Take Monitor's incendiary postbag of which many a rock star would be jealous. Apart from titillating suggestions from hungry young management trainee scheme apparatchiks and invitations to the most debauched of PCT launches, there is also the frankly arousing world of consultancy.

Monitor can only imagine the champagne lunch when consultants Butcher and Gundersen met with the National Care Standards Commission to plan a logo to beat all logos. In a press release which leaves no stone unturned, Butcher and Gundersen unveil, in almost unimaginable detail, the thinking behind the logo itself. For the logo - or 'identity' to use the language of consultancy - will 'reflect both [the NCSC's] authority to take action and its fairness and sensitivity. We hope the solution we have created reflects a body that will stand firm for people's rights, and which will have a remit to act decisively and with sensitivity whenever standards are being breached'. But how to do such a thing?

do not worry, every question is answered in glorious detail: 'The identity achieves this typographically by keeping 'National' and 'Commission' in a formal upper case typeface, while 'Care Standards' stands out clearly in a less formal upper and lower case font. A simple branding device has also been designed which combines the idea of caring hands, and a bird symbolising personal rights and freedom.' Phew. In an act of almost bizarre restraint, the press release does not include anything so simple as a picture of the logo itself.