'Hello!' begins a chatty Alan Langlands. 'I am sending this e-mail to all chief executives of health authorities and NHS trusts in England to see how many of you can receive e-mail using this route, and to check we have your correct contact details.' The Exec is planning a 'learning zone' within NHS Web and wants to be able to contact senior managers electronically. 'I would be very grateful if you could e-mail me back to let me know whether you have received this...' Monitor's friend obliged, only to have the e- mail bounce back from Quarry House with the instant response: 'Name not recognised.'
Monitor is delighted to hear that much-loved former Conservative health minister Brian Mawhinney is working on his memoirs. Civil servants at the Department of Health still affectionately recall how he would jokingly harangue them in his soft Ulster brogue for minor misdemeanours. Indeed, senior officials so coveted the jovial minister's amiable good humour and sense of fun that Monitor understands they decided eventually that no civil servant below grade five should be permitted to brief him.
A man as self-effacing as Dr Mawhinney would surely never countenance the idea of a road being named after him. But Monitor was amazed to discover a Frank Dobson Square in Bethnal Green. Tower Hamlets council claims it was named after the sculptor of the same name, but Monitor cannot help but think that a golden opportunity now presents itself to any loyal local authority leader who has not yet found themselves a trust to chair. Still unclaimed by any major town or city are the rather evocative Frank Dobson Roundabout, Frank Dobson Flyover or Frank Dobson Gyratory System.
Which, for reasons best not explored, brings back memories of a Monitor wheeze that didn't quite come off. Having discovered a work by Dobbo the sculptor on London's South Bank, Monitor intended to despatch a photographer, the better to share with our readers the clean lines and rounded shapes of the naked human form in which he specialised. Alas, the idea was vetoed at higher levels, putting the kibosh on the front-cover teaser line: 'Monitor picture exclusive: Frank Dobson nude.'