The great row whimpers on about whether nice uncle Tony and his good friend Alan used the NHS as a 'political weapon' to get the fat truckers out of the way. Monitor reckons it's just not the sort of thing they would do. When the Department of Health sent out a regional breakdown of hospitals hitting crisis point and accidentally included lots of hospitals that weren't hitting crisis point at all, Monitor could easily believe that incompetence rather than deception was to blame. But then he discovered a picture of the young Tony in Deidre's photo casebook in an edition of last week's soaraway Sun (see left).
It clearly showed our leader's frustration as, even then, he tried to hammer his message home.
The blurry line between fact and fiction is causing confusion once more. Take the death of Stan Ogden. Monitor was not alone in shedding a tear as widow Hilda tenderly tidied away his wellworn specs for the last time. Luckily, Mrs Monitor swiftly pointed out that Coronation Street was 'only a soap opera' as she drowned out its searing theme tune with a brisk vacuum.
Nonetheless, it is surprising, perhaps, that Nursing Standard, RCN inhouse mag, dedicated much news space to the 'realistic handling' of the death of Ethel Skinner, doyenne of EastEnders. Readers of a more cerebral nature may need reminding that Ethel was 'realistically' killed off by her best pal, Dot. Interesting, too, that the Standard commended the way in which the soap's writers 'explored several angles without casting aspersions on the integrity of hospices or other care services'.
Dot killed Ethel because she was desperate not to be sent to a hospice, but nice to see the Standard taking it so well.
This week Monitor had a real dilemma. When a master of self-promotion tries to use this column - and worse still, his tiny daughter - as a political weapon, what can one do? At first Monitor was wary. Why give Matt Tee - director of communications at CHI - the oxygen of publicity? But such behaviour cannot be ignored. Monitor would like to thank child prodigy Victoria Tee (aged two-and- three-quarters) for her beautifully written letter - while in no uncertain terms exposing and condemning the hot-house environment she has clearly been subjected to. Her plea - for this picture (see right) of her dad to be published because she didn't recognise him last time we used one - is granted. Other publicists hoping to curry favour by sending in photographs of themselves with cute kids should be warned. Details will be passed on to social services before you can say Jack Straw. A child who reads HSJ is no child at all.
The hotline to Monitor Towers has been buzzing this week - and one tip led straight to the pages of those nice guys at NICE's Clinical Excellence 2000 conference guide, which flags up a 'personal development satellite' - that's a workshop to you - on how to feng shui your office. Monitor's very own Deep Throat croaked: 'What's the evidence base for feng-shui, then?'
While deep in the bowels of this fascinating read, Monitor stumbled across a wealth of nuggets to distract health service managers from the conference's clinical governance agenda.
But you may be left stuck between a rock and a hard place; how to choose between two rival entertainment events - will you re-live your past with 'Abbamania', where you are urged to wear 'whatever you feel appropriate!', or 'get out your jeans, check shirts and cowboy boots for good fun, good music and good company!'
(Monitor wonders who they've invited. ) Still, don't overdo it - there's plenty of fun to be had the following day, when Roy Lilley, Monitor's fave management consultant, leads a section called WOW!
That's Right! One thing NICE certainly wasn't rationing was exclamation marks.
The session promises '10 ideas to become a WOW person working in a WOW organisation. Guaranteed to make you look at life in a new way, challenge the way you think and make you laugh!' Monitor is, as ever, laughing already.