Monitor is delighted to see that the Institute of Health Services Managers is still at the cutting edge of research into management issues. To coincide with a 'merger mania' conference last week it issued a 'strictly embargoed' press statement detailing a survey of 'managers from across the NHS'. Its findings were remarkably familiar - managers think mergers are politically driven, disruptive and likely to save less than pounds1m each - and no wonder. IHSM members had been asked to 'agree or disagree' with the results of an un-named 'recent survey of managers' - the poll of 400 top execs organised by the Journal and Nexus Structured Communications last year. The IHSM's survey 'confirmed yours' to quote an embarrassed press officer speaking to a Journal reporter.

After months of wrangling with the Conservatives about 'political bias' the government has published the political affiliations of the 886 people appointed to trust boards since May. Twenty-six were active for the Lib Dems, 29 for the Conservatives and 208 for Labour. No bias there then. But Monitor wonders what the figures would look like if a narrower definition of 'politically active' were used by Sir Len Peach, the commissioner for public appointments. Dobbo told a recent meeting of the select committee on public appointments that simple party membership did not count. 'You have to make speeches or hold office in a political party or something like that,' he said. 'I think you could just about take the whip in the Lords and still claim no party affiliation under these rules.'

Ruud Gullit's 'lovely boys' at Chelsea FC may be showing few signs of missing their much admired former player/manager. But members of the Nurses Association of North London have been so aggrieved by the loss of the suave, talented Dutchman from the club that they have written to its chair Ken Bates to protest at his sacking. Not only was Ruud an inspiration to young footballers and amateur sportspeople but he 'performed, unwittingly, a morale booster for all of our female nursing staff,' wrote NANL member Elaine Murphy. 'As you are aware nursing morale and pay is at an all-time low and pictures of Ruud in the national press and on television were more than enough to compensate for this.' Better not tell the Chancellor.

Finally, congratulations to Averil Dongworth, not only on her new job as chief executive of City and Hackney Community Services trust but on an apparent change of management style. Mrs Dongworth, it is claimed, has the full support of consultants at the trust. Presumably, she has learned since her days at Luton and Dunstable Hospital that spying on consultants is not the way to get them on board (she was forced to quit as chief executive there after it emerged she had ordered a consultant's phone be bugged).