Always happy to give a fellow hack down on his luck a break, Monitor had been hoping to get former health minister and two-time election loser Gerry Malone into the Journal for a few shifts on the newsdesk. Happily that won't now be necessary, for Gerry has found a niche as associate editor of The European, working for former college chum and flatmate Andrew Neil. But oh, what fun it would have been setting him the task of getting a story out of the DoH press office.
Cue dramatic TV theme tune (da da DA da, da da DAA da, etc). This is a message for NHS managers in Wales. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to implement another major programme of change. The task is set out in your new white paper, Putting Patients First. As soon as you try to read it, this document's pages will separate from the centre seam and ensure it self-destructs in five seconds. A hint that NHS Wales is on a mission impossible?
Could this account for health minister Win Griffith's somewhat odd behaviour at the white paper's launch in Cardiff last week? Mr Griffiths smiled a lot for the cameras. He ran through a list of the main sub-headings. But he sounded less than entirely at ease with a document he 'thought' was 'well suited to mark the 50th anniversary of the NHS started by Nye Bevan'. He also looked slightly relieved when nobody bothered to quiz him about the document . It later emerged he had lost his speech, which is a bit of a hazard for ministers launching white papers in the current government. Dobbo's sore throat meant he was also left speechless by the launch of The New NHS last year.
A hapless journalist was left red-faced after bounding up to the Department of Health's chief nursing officer, Glenys Kinnock - or was it Yvonne Moores, wife of a former Labour leader and MEP for South Wales East? - during a recent bash, saying: 'Hi Ann, great to see you. Did you know my father- in-law worked on your election campaign?' He'd mistaken her for Ann Keen, Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth. Oops. Could this be a case of sisters separated at birth?
To help mark the 50th anniversary of the NHS, the entire board of Dorset Community trust recently abandoned their desks so they could spend a day with frontline staff. But did director of finance Paul Turner have a secret agenda when he chose to learn more about occupational therapy at the Whitfield Rural Activities Centre? Press pictures show him feeding a flock of geese. In the hope of finding one that lays golden eggs, presumably.