It's two weeks since Monitor threw down the gauntlet, challenging readers to send in evidence of health minister John Denham's GSOH. And one Louise Martin has e-mailed Monitor Towers, offering two exhibits in his defence. Ms Martin, who claims to be an employee of building giant Alfred McAlpine, suggests that if you want to tickle Mr Denham's ribs, you need only chuck a concrete slab his way!
She reveals: 'I have two images! One, a shot of said gentleman shovelling concrete (with requisite smile on face). Another, more intriguing shot of him with his hands in a slab of wet concrete complete with rubber gloves! !' Both pics were taken during the 'topping out' of the PFI site at Wythenshawe, says Ms Martin, who says that 'Giggles' Denham 'looks pretty mirthful' in both. But efforts to track down the pics led Monitor a merry dance. Ms Martin was not known at the telephone number she provided, while e-mails from cyber-Monitor bounced back. Finally, photos were promised: at which point fate conspired in the shape of a postal strike. The plot thickens.
Meanwhile, news just in regarding the NHS's very own Carol Smillie (pictured). Ron de Witt (inset) hit the headlines a year ago when he became chief executive of King's Healthcare trust, promptly spending£25,000 on an office makeover. But that was petty cash compared to his latest splurge, spending£79,000 on 'glass shelving, designer lighting and modern gas fires' for his new management offices.
Former employers Leeds HA defend Ron's decor record there, with current chief exec Mike Ramsden tactfully explaining that while it was Ron who authorised a£73,000 spend on office furniture soon after taking up post there four years ago, the decision to move the HA offices been taken ahead of his appointment, and the splurge on new furniture was 'a clear consequence' of that.
But as Monitor went to press, a most unusual call came in from the Department of Health, at its most proactive, to say: 'We will be asking Mr de Witt to account for his actions. He will be invited to explain whether this expenditure was necessary. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation.' Oh Ron.