So St James' boss David Johnson has been appointed chief executive of the new Leeds 'super trust'. But Monitor is curious to unravel the mystery of who the other three candidates were who were interviewed for the £125,000 post. Leeds health authority chief executive Ron De Witt was one. But could the rumours possibly be true that King's Healthcare boss Derek Smith and Central Manchester Healthcare trust chief executive James Barbour were the others? Both deny it. Would the mystery candidates please step forward.

Still on the jobs front, Monitor can reveal that ex-University College London Hospitals boss Charles Marshall has got his first commission in his newly launched career as a management consultant. Mr Marshall has been appointed project director to lead work on whether it is possible to 'devise a common clinical strategy' allowing much closer working between Central Middlesex Hospitals and Northwick Park and St Mark's trusts. The work may or may not lead to the two trusts merging, a spokesperson says.

Finally someone has said it. The NHS is bigger than God. Well, to quote the words of King's Fund boss Julia Neuberger, speaking at Unison's annual health group conference last week: 'The NHS is a brand name. . . people believe in it more than they believe in Christianity or Judaism. . .

and I say that as a Rabbi.' It brings to mind the immortal words of John Lennon. 'The Beatles are bigger than Jesus, ' didn't he say? And look what happened to him.

Speaking of the Unison conference, health minister Alan Milburn must have been praying there was a God after all when he was met with a storm of protest of the kind not seen since the high days of former health secretary Ken Clarke. The usually smooth-talking minister's feathers were somewhat severely ruffled, according to witnesses. And so fearful were officials about further trouble being caused by 'activists' that journalists were whisked away in taxis to a secret location for a press conference. And whatever was it that provoked the unrest? The private finance initiative, what else?

Perhaps John James really wishes he was back in Whitehall where deals were done behind closed doors, rather than at the helm of a health authority in the current era of public meetings.

He admitted he was being 'unorthodox' when he suggested at last week's meeting of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster HA that the press might consider not reporting certain remarks about the troubled London Lighthouse.

Reporting them might, he suggested, threaten the success of the bid to the Treasury for approval of a loan to keep the Lighthouse going.

The saying 'like a red rag to a bull' comes to mind.