Monitor didn't like to mention it, but he feels a growing sense of unease every time he chances upon Nige Edwards, the Confed's very own motormouth. Perfectly normal, you might say. But at HSJ 's Health Management Awards last week, it took a fresh pair of eyes (perhaps under the influence of a healthy portion of champers) to spell out the exact nature of the problem.
'By God, It is Timothy Spall!' boomed a maverick genius among the magazine's staff, who shall, for his own protection, remain nameless. Luckily, senior staff were on hand to explain to him in the strongest terms that such a comparison was neither kind nor helpful. They also told him to keep his voice down. How the star of Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Secrets and Lies will feel about being likened to the mouthpiece of NHS bureaucracy is impossible to imagine. Tim, our thoughts are with you.
It seems an age since Monitor wondered out loud where that nice Mr Hutton had left his charisma. And yet the pedants among you will point out that Monitor's comments were published a mere seven days ago. However, the column went to press just before Monitor witnessed first-hand the metamorphosis of the health minister into the Hugh Grant of health policy, during his speech at the very same awards ceremony. With his stuttering delivery and rubber-faced antics, he had the health service eating out of the palm of his hand. Practically.
Such was his charm that, with every award he gave, the numbers storming on stage for their moment of glory became larger. And as the evening wore on, there was little doubt that sisters were - ahem - doing it for themselves.
Gentlemen of the NHS world were left in the shade, as increasing numbers of sequinned ladies launched themselves on an increasingly bewildered health minister. By the end of the night, Mr Hutton had the appearance of a man who had drowned in glamour.