On Friday Jeremy Hunt called five trust chief executives to offer his support to help improve their accident and emergency performance. Here is what HSJ imagines the bravest might have said.

“Good to hear from you secretary of state, we’ve been quite lonely since Alan Milburn left office.

“We always suspected your predecessor’s suggestion that there would now be an ‘arm’s length relationship’ between the service and politicians was as unworkable as many of his plans. At least we all know where we stand now – and thanks for the bung, I mean additional support, to get us through the winter.

“I know this mess wasn’t of your making, so it’s good you’re trying to understand how to find a  way out. I suspect – judging by your obvious interest in and grasp of the issues involved – this won’t be our last chat.

“I imagine you’ll also be ringing our local commissioning group… Oh, yes of course, silly me.

“One final thought; perhaps you could have a word with Mr Pickles and get him to fight harder for extra social service spending – so we can discharge our patients safely and swiftly.”