To: Don Wise, chief executive
From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive
Had a curious meeting last week with a chap wearing those ghastly Crocs plastic sandals and drawstring hemp trousers and who had a faint aroma of mildew lingering around him. I couldn't work out whether he was from the patients' forum, the director of commissioning at the PCT or an inspector from the Healthcare Commission.
All became clear however when I checked the diary and realised he was a local Lib Dem councillor who'd popped in to explain their exciting new health policy to us.
I had to offer him a seat and make him a cup of parsley tea as he extolled "empowerment, fairness and quality in healthcare". This character went on (and on) about the usual nonsense that the NHS cannot be managed because it is the fourth largest employer in the world after the Chinese army and Wal-Mart. To my mind these are hugely successful organisations that achieve their objectives very effectively, teaching us that it is only when you let democratic consultation get in the way that you become unproductive.
This brought him on to his next point: he wants to let the people decide about their healthcare. Now let's think about this. At the same time as bewailing obesity, heart disease and diabetes brought on by sedentary, gluttonous lifestyles, he wants to give fat, lazy people the right to vote on their healthcare.
Wait a bit, though - it gets better than that. He wants local health leaders to be elected and local health spending to be put to the vote so that local people can get more funding into healthcare, which is being blocked by national politicians.
So Don, in Lib Dem la la land, you are going to have to stand before the people, promising to spend less of their hard-earned money while campaigning for an increase in local health taxes. Win with Wise could be your campaign slogan.
I listened politely and then sent him squelching on his way back to the pasture he had escaped from.