If the civil servant who coined the phrase 'strategic health authority' had checked with the Concise Oxford Dictionary, they would have found that 'strategic' means 'designed to disorganise the enemy's internal economy and to destroy morale', and 'authority' means 'power or right to enforce obedience'. A better form of words, and a more appropriate metaphor, are called for.

Is these new organisations' principal role really to be performance management, if 'performance' can mean 'ridiculous or contemptible behaviour' and 'management' can mean 'succeed in one's aim with inadequate material'?

One hopes they will not work as 'teams', since these can be either 'two or more beasts of burden yoked together', or 'a set of players taking one side in a game'.

Drudgery or flippancy - take your pick.

The new bodies would be well advised to steer clear of 'stakeholders' since the only given definition of one of these is 'the third party who holds the wagers when gambling is taking place'.

Interesting times. Dangerous metaphors.

Dr Peter Brambleby Consultant in public health Norfolk health authority