Naturally, security at Monitor Towers is at an all-time high these days.

Mrs Monitor has always washed her hands after sifting through the readers' postbag. Nonetheless, the fan mail from Salisbury Healthcare trust continues to slip through the net, along with the well-aimed press releases of the Ministry of Defence and the harmless outpourings of the Health Development Agency. Sometimes Monitor wonders what on earth they all think HSJ is for. But when he received a press release entitled Public Lecture: the quest for charisma , Monitor couldn't help smiling at the postal error before forwarding information about the event to Richmond House.

Monitor saw no reason to attend the Edinburgh lecture two weeks ago. But if he had, he feels he would have seen a few familiar - yet strangely unmemorable - faces from the most senior ranks of the NHS.

Ah, indeed, blessed are the meek. And blessed is David Meek, the kindly gentleman who took the trouble to post a super press release about the works going on at Norfolk Mental Health Care trust. 'They do like to be beside the seaside on Laburnum ward at Hellesdon Hospital, near Norwich. And now, thanks to Lorraine Anderson and Joan Dowthwaite, patients and staff do not have to travel too far to get there. . .' Monitor genuinely applauds the heroic efforts of the dementia support workers to transform the ward's quiet room into a coastal resort. Yet the expectation gap between the description and the picture supplied (left) presents a slight issue. 'Now patients relax and listen to the lapping of the waves, look out across the briny and think of happy family days in the fifties. . . all made possible by a colourful mural featuring a fishing boat and lighthouse, fishing nets, artificial fish bobbing in an illuminated tube, and restful 'cobble' lights. This room stimulates people who have no other form of stimulation , ' said senior sister Shelley Nash.

Perhaps we could all do with a holiday.

Meanwhile news in from our pals in the US of A, where a Missouri nurse has begun legal action against colleagues who played a 'practical joke' by drawing a heart on her buttocks while she had a rectal exam. Colleagues of Phyllis DeForrest, from Forsythe, also wrote 'I love Dr Shaffer' - the doctor performing the procedure - on Ms DeForrest's derriere . When the lady woke up, one of her colleagues showed her a photograph of the heart illustration which had been taken with an endoscope. Whatever next, ponders Monitor? Perhaps Mr Milburn's next foray into performance management could see him using a similar device to brand anaesthetised chief executives with their star rating and a set of performance indicators.

Monitor is well aware of the power of celebrity over the young and vulnerable.

Why, the very thought of Jenny Agutter's bloomers is enough to take Monitor to a happier place. Nonetheless, the modern fame game is rather more brash, and, if truth be told, somewhat more accessible than the elastic encasing Ms Agutter's shapely thighs. Last week, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell hosted the launch of a website set up by sexual pioneers Marie Stopes, taking online questions from fans. After announcing that she had her first 'real' boyfriend at 21, Ms Halliwell suggested to one young virgin that her womanhood remains intact: 'Take some respect in yourself, feel proud that you're choosy, vaginity [sic] is precious and a gift and something to be proud of. Its [sic] not some villanous [sic] disease You have got to get rid of.' Ms Halliwell's spelling deficiencies apart, It is hard to know what to make of her views. Monitor wondered if perhaps biology wasn't Ms Halliwell's preferred topic, so went online to ask for her views on publicprivate partnerships. But the woman formerly known as Ginger was strangely unforthcoming.

Mrs Monitor is delighted to hear that as chair of the Women's Royal Volunteer Service she has been granted permission to run her fingers along random dusty surfaces in the local NHS and make gentle tutting noises. She hopes that Mr Milburn will extend WRVS powers so that she and her tweeded friends will be able to employ a wider range of expressions, including the raised eyebrow and the blatant scowl, as part of their performance-management role within Patient Empowerment Advocacy Teams (PEATs to their friends). In those trusts which continue to be deemed 'red', WRVS representatives will demonstrate disapproval by the use of the 'rolling eyes' mechanism. In the meantime, tuts and wincing expressions will contribute to a balanced scorecard. Trust chief executives subject to more than three tuts will be put in the stocks, and local deprived people will be invited to hurl Lottery-funded sponges at them.