With greatness comes humility. And with humility greatness. And so it was that John Denham, minister of health, happiness and downright bonhomie showed his worth. Monitor salutes you, Mr Denham, and apologises from the bottom of his heart.
In June this page made a desperate appeal. Claims by Southampton University Hospitals trust that 'Mr Denham really did see the funny side' when it clamped his car led Monitor to launch an investigation. Monitor would like to take this opportunity to point out that all such investigations are carried out in a developmental and facilitative style. If the end result is a weak joke and a bit of laughing and poking fun at someone else's misfortune, that is clearly a problem of perception. Monitor knows that in a modern NHS, good research can only be built on a solid evidence base. The trust provided no evidence that our glorious minister had trouble controlling his bladder at the height of his mirth, nor that he was seen clutching his sides at the scene of the crime. The appeal for any kind of evidence bore little fruit. Two pictures of Mr Denham smiling on a building site hardly rate in Cochrane terms.
Until now! Monitor enjoyed a rare night out last week courtesy of HSJ's Health Management Awards, mingling with the 'great and the good' and some NHS managers.
What's more, Mr Denham would be taking to the stage to present the awards! So imagine Monitor's shame when the charming man began his speech by drawing attention to the humour bypass allegations on this very page. Did Mr Denham get cross?
Did he try to defend his track record on wit? No, for he is too great a man. Instead, like a medium-sized flash of lightening, Mr Denham showed us all what he's made of - by telling not one, not two, but THREE jokes. In a row. And people laughed! Monitor won't share all the details, but suffice to say the one with the punchline, 'No, you're John Denham, ' was a real corker, and to pretend his speech would last for 45 minutes was side-splitting. So Monitor would like to make a grovelling apology for even hinting that the minister for complicated detailed policy is not the king of comedy. He is a truly funny guy! Seriously.