Now that government policy on co-payments has become clearer, it's interesting to learn that MPs have been benefiting from 'top-ups' of their own.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, our elected representatives are "using taxpayers' money to pay NHS doctors to provide them with private health consultations".

Fortunately MPs have pre-empted the Richards review by ensuring that the consultations are carried out in a separate, non-NHS location.

"The service was previously offered by a nearby hospital, but because so few MPs could apparently be bothered to take the short walk, the doctors have now agreed to come to Westminster," the report continues. Well that's OK then.

The newspaper also reports that the Department of Health is spending£32,827 on a Met Office service telling hospitals and councils in the North West what the weather is like (rainy?).

Common victories

The money is being spent on a trial scheme that issues alerts during extreme weather so that doctors can presumably tell pensioners to put an extra jumper on.

In another great victory for common sense, Trafford primary care trust has banned toys from doctors' waiting rooms because it fears they could spread infection among children, the Manchester Evening News reports. According to the paper, the PCT said it was following Department of Health guidance.

Of course, the obvious solution would be simply to ban ill people from waiting rooms, thus cutting down on even more potential sources of infection.