In a slightly juvenile way, Monitor was chuffed to bits at the idea that Crispy Nige could be replaced by a man called Bacon at London regional office. So delighted was Monitor by the savouriness of their names that he barely considered their faces.
(Except a quick peep at Nigel's and that was only down to the barbed comments of Mrs Monitor). So to realise that John Bacon, acting director of London region, and David Hunter, professor of rentaquote from Durham University, were separated at birth was quite a shock.
Readers who can spot a better likeness within the world of health are hereby challenged!
Meanwhile, public-private partnerships are already making themselves felt in the NHS. A press release from Essex Rivers Healthcare trust - headed 'Battling midwife defies floods' - rang heart-warming bells. And yet the devil is in the detail, as they say. In fact the release ran: 'Determined midwife Brenda Richardson is confident of reaching mums-to-be in a flood-hit district of north east Essex - thanks to a loaned Chrysler Jeep. Brenda took delivery of the W-reg 4-litre Wrangler model yesterday after Essex Rivers Healthcare trust appealed to the Cherry Tree Garage in Blackheath, Colchester, for help.' How sweet - but there's more: 'Miss Richardson, who normally drives a Vauxhall Nova, added: 'I can use the Jeep to get through to my own women and, if need be, to chauffeur other midwives who are having problems getting through because of the floods.'' And there's more still: Mrs Carmel Button, proprietor of the Cherry Tree Garage, who is loaning the Jeep, reports: 'It's a really fun vehicle which is excellent at getting through water.' Monitor is astounded at the kindness of the motoring marketeers which sell big glossy cars with huge wheels that are great in floods and keep babies safe - but wonders, what on earth do they get out of it?
Meanwhile, aren't doctors a funny old bunch? In the wake of Shipman and various front bottom botchings you can understand why the General Medical Council takes its professional conduct cases seriously. Earlier this month, it looked at the case of Dr Y.M.D. Chan who in October 1999 was 'alleged to have behaved in an inappropriate, irresponsible and threatening manner through the wearing of full military combat dress' in the A&E department of a Monmouthshire hospital. A joke's a joke, reckons Monitor. But what's this? Dr Chan - a senior house officer at the hospital - was also accused of 'brandishing an imitation fireman in the car park of the hospital', the GMC says. Further checks established that the body was not accusing Dr Chan of a weird fetish involving blow-up men in uniform, but was in fact alleging that he had waved a fake firearm about. For which he was reprimanded, but cleared of gross misconduct.
Monitor has never been one to throw around unfounded accusations. Well OK, not never, but anyway, for once Monitor has lost his cool. That's right. Hot on the heels of this page's search for 'Giggles' Denham's sense of humour - and boy, did we find it - great to see the BBC embarking on the very same search. To be fair, the beeb has set itself a slightly trickier task. As part of last week's Children in Need (so you'll just have to put up with hours of crap telly) marathon, the cast of BBC1's daily medical drama Doctors 'face the greatest test of their medical expertise'. Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen walks into their surgery to tell them he's 'lost the sense of humour which has gilded his career as news presenter and sports journalist'. Doctors series producer Carson Black spouts: 'It took all the ingenuity our team of script writers could muster to devise a plot which was so true to life.'
Finally, no-one could accuse the National Institute for Clinical Excellence of being interesting. No that's wrong. No-one could accuse them of being slapdash, is what Monitor surely meant to say. Take the programme they sent out for their annual conference. Recognising the danger that it could go astray, or be accidentally thrown in a nearby bin, they took the precaution of sending out five copies. And what a programme it is! Masses of information about everything you could possibly wish - or not wish -to know about the three-day extravaganza. Most helpfully, under the heading 'November weather' it offers the following solemn guidance: 'It may rain during the conference, so it is advisable to bring with you appropriate clothing/umbrella.'