Monitor is unable to say why health secretary Alan Milburn's Sunday appearance with Jonathan Dimbleby was followed by Carry on Doctor. But what a happy reminder the 1968 classic offers of the need to leave no group untouched by modernisation. We may confine our blaming and shaming to managers for inefficiency and doctors for ineffectiveness, but as Carry On's 'senior physician' Dr Tinkler (Kenneth Williams) reminded us, there is another group that should not be let off lightly.

'I'm not happy at the progress these patients are making, ' he announces sternly to matron (Hattie Jacques, inevitably) as he begins his ward round. 'We're letting them have it much too easy.'

Of course, the film culminates in a patients' revolt in which matron is overpowered and Dr Tinkler wheeled into his own operating theatre for a little revenge surgery involving a cut-throat razor and a length of rubber tubing, but then it only goes to show the foresight of the Carry On team. After all, more than 30 years later, we have still to get to grips fully with the expert patient initiative.

Mind you, Southampton had expert patients back at the turn of the century. Check Up, the newsletter of Southampton University Hospitals trust, notes that the workhouse doctor was 'not allowed to practise privately, nor was he encouraged to do anything very much for the patients, most of whom were nursed by fellow inmates'. Now the trust has to deal with more than 50 clinical specialties, but staff do cure patients. Pessimistically, but realistically, the workhouse was next to the cemetery.

Sticking with classics of the past, reader Morgan Jones e-mails to reassure Monitor that a decade's pause in an illustrious career is about to end. Popster Pete Wylie, mentioned a couple of weeks back, has a 'new album pending ' and has been seen, live, and indeed singing, as well. But another reader, Sarah James, finds it 'ironic' that Mr Wylie was chosen to launch the Campaign to End Living Miserably, since his last hit - back in 1982 - was the cheerily titled The Story of the Blues. Keep 'em coming, pop pickers, and don't worry about all that nasty healthcare management stuff.