Published: 08/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5985 Page 15

Dear Santa I have been a good boy all year.

Please could I have a payment by results game for Christmas? I would like the big new one with emergencies and primary care and everything. I'll wait up on Christmas Eve to make sure you get it down the chimney OK.

Tell Rudolph he can wait on the roof. Love to Mrs Claus.

Dud Tenners (9), Birmingham

Dear Dudley

Unfortunately putting the new edition of the payment by results game together is taking a little longer than we expected. We have plenty of clever elves working on it in the grotto, but it probably will not be ready for a while. Also, remember you'll need a big powerful information system to make it work properly, and they're hard to find.

Why not start with the original version and get used to that first?

Lots of boys and girls are finding It is a lot of fun and keeps them playing happily for ages. Plus, if you like Harry Potter, you'll find It is got a super spells converter.

Happy Christmas.


Dear Santa

My daddy works for the hospital. He says he would like something called a 'recurring balance' for Christmas.

He wanted it last year too. Please could you bring him one as I think it would make him very happy but they haven't got it at Argos.

Robin Banks (6), London

Dear Rob

It is years since I've seen a recurring balance! Actually I do not think anyone's making them any more.

Some places around the country may still have them, but in big cities like London It is going to be pretty difficult to find one, especially at this time of year when everybody seems to want them. Perhaps your daddy would like a loan from the NHS Bank instead? I'll bring you the forms for him, and a small syringe because he'll need to sign in blood.


Dear Santa

Last year you sent me an air-sea recovery plane, but what I really wanted was a recovery plan. It is for my mummy. She works at the infirmary and she says that if she can't get one soon we will not have a Christmas next year. So It is really really important Santa, so please help.

Beverley Westwood (11), Yorkshire

Dear Bev

I've wrapped up a nice recovery plan for your mummy, one which I am sure she'll like. It has three separate parts: some financial brakes (for her to pile on as soon as possible), a subscription to Good Housekeeping (to remind her what to do next) and a strategic planning kit with lots of cost improvement ideas. I've also included a few targets and milestones, which is why the parcel seems a bit heavy.


Dear Santa

Please please please could you send me a nurse's uniform for Christmas so that I can play doctors and nurses, and can it be one with the new prescribing kit so that I can give people drugs and make them happy?

Teresa Green (8), Sherwood Forest

Dear Teresa

Yes, of course I'll bring you your new nurse uniform, and I hope you have lots of fun playing with it in 2006 and that you carry on wearing it for a long time. If you ever want to exchange it for a modern matron kit, just let me know. Along with the prescription pad I'll get you a nice clinical governance framework to keep it in.

Have a very happy New Year, and go easy on the antibiotics.


Dear Santa.

My daddy works for the department of stealth in the big office block where the Quarry Hill flats used to be and he says everyone's going to want cats next year, so can you bring us one now please before the rush. We had a dog before, but it wazzed on the carpet and made the house smell. If you bring us a cat I will leave you some Spanish brandy and my friend Cath's phone number - she's dead lush. Oh and a carrot for Rudolph.

Al Woodley (12), Leeds.

Dear Al.

I am afraid the cats your daddy's talking about are not the furry kind that stay out all night and smell of fish. They're a new kind of medical centre That is going to help the health service treat patients quicker - maybe even within 18 weeks. It stands for capture, assess, treat and something else. Actually they're still a bit of a secret and so expensive you can only buy them from the EU journal, so would it be all right if I send you a replica Leeds United shirt instead as We have got lots left over from last year?


Dear Santa

Please could you bring me a tin to put savings in, and some money to start my savings fund? I would like a red one that looks like a post box, only it will need to be big because I read in the papers There is going to be lots of savings next year and I need to start thinking about a personal pension.

I've been really good all year and I hope you'll bring me one because otherwise It is special measures for you fatso and no sherry or mince pie or anything.

Barry Gurney (15), Bristol.

Dear Bazza Actually the savings are likely to be negative next year, and so sadly are your prospects of Christmas goodies if you're going to talk to me like that.

And please do not ask for money. It is not in the Christmas spirit, and besides we gave it all away this year to a charity called Agenda for Change. Have you thought about getting a job now that you're nearly 16? I'll send you an application form for careers in your local NHS. Have a nice life.

Santa. .

Noel Plumridge is an independent consultant and former NHS finance director.