Greetings from Cardiff, where Monitor has spent a happy few days gorging on the generous hospitality offered at the British Medical Association's annual representative meeting. So nice to attend the conference of an organisation which can afford it for a change.
Monitor was particularly taken by the BMA professional services stand, which offered delegates the chance to practise their golf swings without ever leaving the conference hall. Its 'simulator', complete with real clubs and balls, was quite an attraction. Just the thing to get rid of a few pounds, and it could be the attraction you've been looking for to get GPs along to those primary care group meetings.
In the conference hall itself, meanwhile, one Essex GP taking part in the NHS funding debate was musing on the meaning of the BMA's logo, which he thought resembled a dollar sign peering worriedly over its shoulder (see left). What? You mean that wasn't the intention all along?
Being in Wales, the conference organisers dutifully supplied a few handy Celtic phrases. Somehow, though, it is difficult to conceive of a medical gathering which would require the sentence 'Derbyniwyd y cynnig yn unfrydol'. It translates as 'the motion was carried unanimously'.
Back in the metropolis, Dobbo was doing his 'man of the people' bit over the Buckingham Palace garden party for NHS staff. But having insisted that everyone should have an equal chance of getting a ticket, he had to come up with a way of guaranteeing it. The DoH press office claims the lucky 4,000 were picked by computer to ensure a properly random selection. Can this really mean that someone, somewhere in Whitehall has nothing better to do than to key in all 45,000 applicants' details? Don't tell the Treasury, they'll want to go through those comprehensive spending review figures all over again.
Not that Monitor would think to suggest that the DoH doesn't have matters of national importance to deal with. Take the deadly cheeses with which public health and photo opportunities minister Tessa Jowell is doing battle. Monitor now realises that belittling her recent ban on a 'Caerphilly-type cheese' as not up to Tory mad cow standards was facile. Six MPs have already leapt into the fray, along with one member of the public and the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
Governments have fallen over less.
Finally, you might think the cost of dentistry is outrageous, but you certainly wouldn't want to say anything to upset your dentist while they still had a drill in their hand, now, would you? So presumably the British Dental Association survey which concluded this week that six out of 10 people thought their last appointment was good value for money was conducted while the patients were still in the chair.