Parallels between Princess Di (as was) and finance directors are rare. Colin Reeves would never have called himself 'the people's finance director' - it wasn't in his nature. Yet news that the NHS' top bean-counter is to pack away his scientific calculator for the last time has shaken the foundations of the finance nation. When one bears in mind the cautious nature of these penny-counting chaps, their heartfelt praise of Colin's 'controls assurance' are equal to a thousand bouquets. Rather oddly, one lowly finance director described Mr Reeves as 'a gentleman in his personal relationships'. It was only when HSJ's secret battalion of nervy 'sources' was contacted that the real truth began to emerge. One particular deep throat husked: 'He is a nice man' - before insisting his comments were off the record. Another went further, to describe Mr Reeves as 'a very open man - no, don't say that. That doesn't sound good for a finance director.'

He went on to describe Mr Reeves as 'humourless' before realising the word he was after was spelled quite differently. Luckily, our gentle hackettes were on hand to turn these bereft mumblings into full sentences. But one comment was particularly odd. Another finance director - who preferred not to be named - suggested that Mr Reeves was 'streetwise'. Monitor was bemused. Could the 51-year-old finance director (whose wife is pals with the spouse of Crispy Nige) really be a role model for today's yoof? Monitor went straight to the heart of popular youth culture to find out whether drug-taking 16-year-olds wearing inflatable clothes outside STD clinics thought Mr Reeves was hangin' tough. They didn't seem to understand. But that was probably because they were listening to shouting music with a heavy beat and nothing to do with any lack of kudos attached to our Col and the finance massive.

And finally, news in from the Express, which revealed the findings of a registry of freebies given to the Lords. Monitor's fave Lord, Philip Hunt, declares that his only gift was 'a stick of Institute of Healthcare Management rock (70p). Too broken to eat, so sadly thrown away'.

Monitor would like to point out that NHS staff pay for their own IHM rock, broken or otherwise.