As you go about your business in your comfortable and yet spacious suite of offices, spare a thought for the toiling masses of the Department of Health, where the powers that be have become fed up with reorganising the NHS and turned on their own kind. Having decided there wasn't much going on in early April, they herded the boys and girls of the press office down to the third floor of Richmond House and into what one Monitor source describes as a 'broom cupboard'. After a week fighting over the office telephone (which didn't work properly anyway), they were then moved back to the fourth floor and let loose in an open plan office shared with the news distribution unit, media initiative unit and communications planning unit. And you wondered why there wasn't much media coverage of Dobbo's brave new NHS.
If you have ever wondered why hospital car parks contain so many dented vehicles, Monitor can reveal the truth. Each year motor insurers Zurich Municipal publish a league table of claims made by various occupational groups. This year's table shows that, while doctors top the table as usual with more claims than any other profession, they are tailed (a little too closely should the medics slam on the brakes) by social workers at number two, dentists at number three and nurses at number four. That's a seven-place jump by the nurses, who last year came in right down at the foot of the table as the least accident-prone profession. Monitor reckons it can't harm your chances any to warn the chair about where he parks his Roller.
Speaking of Roller-driving trust chairs, Roy Lilley, the man who once defined the genre, had made his way through two courses of the restaurant menu at Northern Ireland's Stormont Hotel recently, when suddenly he went off the idea of a sweet. Some may think that a man who has owned both a lime-green and a gold Rolls-Royce is not overburdened with taste, but funnily enough he couldn't face the prospect of 'Dobostarte on cappuccino sauce'.
Bad for the teeth anyway. So it's just as well the British Dental Association has come up with guidance on how to break bad news to patients. 'Advice is also provided for dentists on how to cope emotionally themselves when breaking bad news,' says the BDA. Could be handy in reconciling the two sets of emotions when they hand over those bills at£350 a time.
The threat of lost teeth also seems to underly the British Medical Association's frosty warning about a series of sex booklets sent out by a PR firm called BMA Communications. 'Could I make it clear in case of any confusion now or in future that BMA Communications has no connection with the British Medical Association nor with the BMA's public affairs division,' says a spokesperson.
'I would hope that the initials BMA, which have been used by the British Medical Association for more than 150 years, are well enough known in this country to avoid any confusion on this matter.' Maybe, but it's a bit confusing now the doctors' house mag, the British Medical Journal, has started boosting interest with front-cover warnings of 'sexually explicit material' within.
North Derbyshire health authority puts out a press release to say its health promotion specialists 'are eager to find out whether there is any truth in a strange phenomenon'. Local action on smoking co-ordinator Elen Rees explains: 'We have heard reports of dogs taking on a new lease of life when their owners give up smoking. In all cases, the animals were quite sickly and lethargic but became full of life, started to eat better and were generally much healthier when their owner kicked the habit.' Ms Rees has put out an appeal for similar tales, so Monitor will be in touch to see if she has any good shaggy dog stories.
It all leads Monitor to wonder whether there is a Canine Health Service. Far fetched? Well, there is a Bee Health Service. Monitor came across details of its activities while trawling the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food website recently, and there is something alarmingly familiar about it all. Apparently the BHS is being restructured, with nine regions merging into seven, to release cash savings which can be ploughed back into frontline services. The service is also setting up a unit to advise on 'best practice in bee disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment' and to assess efficacy. And to think, some people believe Monitor makes it all up. Just phone MAFF and ask them.
Finally, Monitor refuses to believe people actually want Local Institutes for Clinical Excellence. What nits.