To: Don Wise, chief executive

From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive

Re: Councillor counselling

Dear Don

I watched the University Challenge final with my professor mate from our local university partners the other night.He’s a very clever chap, which you can tell by the fact that he takes longer to answer the questions wrong than I do. But it must be amazing to work at the university, because they’ve got so many clever people that there’s always someone around who’s got an answer to a problem. In fact there are usually several people with several answers.

Anyway, the programme was terribly exciting, but imagine our shock to discover a few days later that despite being such a high profile event, the very, very clever people in charge of the university couldn’t actually manage to work out whether one of their team actually was one of their team. We’ll be checking passes in the research lab more carefully from now on.

Imagine what else they could be getting wrong!

My chum and I got round to chatting about Academic Health Science Centres and soon realised that despite his brains and my cunning we couldn’t really answer some basic questions about them.

Your starter for 10….what on earth is an Academic Health Science Centre? Is it a merged teaching hospital and university? Or does one take over the other? Is it a way for one to bail out the other? Or a shiny new logo?

I’ll pass it over to the other team, if you don’t know. Null points there. Let’s try another one….what do you get when you cross a university administrator with a hospital administrator? That’s easy….a hospitality administrator!

As you know we have tried to look into the benefits of applying for AHSC status ourselves, but have been told that it’s all about being internationally competitive so even with our cohort of Filippino nurses we wouldn’t qualify. But never mind, there’s no money in it, just the prestige of being honoured by the Department of Health (which should generate a few giggles on the international scene), the opportunity to fiddle with our governance arrangements (which should generate a few giggles with Monitor) and at last the opportunity for the trust to field a team in University Challenge next year, though it feels like The Weakest Link might be more appropriate.