Top bods at the King's Fund fear the Chateau Plonk and Twiglets bill is getting out of hand. Staff departures have become such a feature of life that the directors have had to put round a discussion paper on leaving dos. They first thought of 'ruling out all leaving dos' or levying 'a commercial charge payable by the individual'. That's been ruled out, they say, but things cannot go on as they are. Options include requiring 'advance clearance by the appropriate executive director based on guidelines (reflecting length of service and perhaps also seniority)' or making 'a modest charge' on quitters 'to recover actual costs incurred'. After all, when you're down to your last 150m you cannot be too careful.
Not that such wild partying would appeal to the Calvinists at the Scottish Office. Though Monitor did wonder whether it employed any Dr Seuss fans since the one-line biography offered for Highland Acute trust's new chair has a distinct Cat in the Hat feel. It reads, in full, 'Stuart Whiteford - Farmer from Nigg'. Monitor's memory may be a bit faulty, but surely the relevant passage goes something like this:
'I've a goat, I've a pig,
Said the farmer from Nigg.
And I once had a cow.
But I want to know how
I can make this trust work,
For it has a strange quirk.
Though its debts are not big,
Said the farmer from Nigg,
The board members are sheep
Who just don't earn their keep.'
Nor will there be any profligacy at the Department of Health, which is reported to want to restrict NHS prescriptions for Viagra to the 'deserving impotent'. Not to worry, though. Our friends at the DoH say this is just a 'holding position'. Which will presumably be the solution on offer to the undeserving impotent.
Meanwhile, as waiting list fever takes hold, South Thames performance management director Kevin Cottrell shares memories of an earlier drive in which he tracked down a patient who had been waiting 18 years. Yes, that's years. 'We wrote to ask him if he still wanted the procedure, and he replied that, now he was a regimental sergeant major, the problem with his bat ears was not as pressing as it had been at school.'
Finally, Monitor can exclusively reveal the Frank Dobson joke which proved too blue for the Mail on Sunday to publish: God tells Adam, 'I've got two bits of good news and one bit of bad news. The good news is I'm giving you a brain - if you use it properly you will be able to dominate the planet.' Adam is chuffed and wants to know the second piece of good news. 'I'm going to give you a willy,' says God. 'I won't go into details, but it will help you procreate future generations and give you great pleasure.' Adam is even more pleased, but wants to know what the bad news is. 'There is just one problem,' says God. 'You'll never be able to get them both working at the same time.'