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HomeNewsMatrons in, malingerers out: Chatty’s hospital masterplan 

Matrons in, malingerers out: Chatty’s hospital masterplan 

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OUR Man in Westminster, Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton MP, is committed to truth, transparency and decency. He is happy for TCW Defending Freedom to publish his correspondence to his constituents. Sir Charles has represented the people of Greater Tittleham since entering Parliament in 1966. He is an Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health

A compilation of Chatty’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom, entitled My Dear Friends, has recently been published. 

My Dear Friends, 

Yet again it is beholden upon me to apologise for the turmoil you may have observed in the Palace of Westminster. Our latest PM, young Sunak, has had a clearout of many the supporters of the Truss woman, but you will be gratified to hear that because of my standing in the Party, he was unable to remove me and I continue to fulfil the important role of keeping NHS waiting lists below the ten million mark. 

I must say I was beginning to bond with my previous boss Coffey. When she got word of her dismissal, we were sharing a bottle or two of Dingo Bay in her office. On hearing the news, she flew into a temper and threw a half-full bottle of the Shiraz across the room and, in doing so, damaged a Turner on loan from the Tate. Fortunately, it is one of his more obscure seascapes and we did our best to effect a repair using felt tip pens, Sellotape and Blu Tack. 

My new boss is a dull solicitor named Barclay. I seem to remember that he was once known as Stephen, but now insists on being called Steve. Goodness knows why. 

Yesterday I gave him an update on my work and explained that although I had managed to keep the waiting lists below eight million, the impending nurses’ strike would no doubt push the number much higher. 

I told him that I had deduced that the NHS is a basket case and mentioned my solution, or the Chatterton Masterplan as I like to call it. I had devised it with my secretary Catherine after dinner the previous evening. 

The plan involves sacking most of the administrators, stopping the treatment of foreign scroungers, demolishing the gigantic faceless charnel houses that the modern hospitals have become, and returning to a system based on cottage hospitals, to be named Chatterton Hospitals, or ‘Chattertons’, for short. 

I recalled an early teen experience at Tittleham Cottage Hospital, where I went for a tonsillectomy. The place was run by a remarkable Irish lady, the imposing Matron Mary Margaret Melia from Killadoon, County Mayo. Rumour has it that before finding her true vocation she was an enforcer for the IRA during the 1916 uprising.  

Matron ruled the place with a rod of iron which she carried attached to her belt. Patients and nurses alike were terrified of her. At the sight of a wayward crumb, a speck of blood, or an untidy bed the terrifying cry, ‘MaythegoodLordblessusandsaveus’, would resonate throughout the building. 

She had no time for ‘malingerers’. I remember watching a poor soul who had just had a lung removed struggling down the road clutching an overnight bag whilst pulling his oxygen tank. There was never a bed shortage at the hospital. I can only imagine what she would have done to someone who said they had ‘long Covid’. 

My mother, Bunty, was Chairman of the Hospital Commissioners. Despite having stared down tigers, wrestled crocodiles, and made squonks cry on her travels, even she was intimidated by the Matron. 

Barclay said he would mull over my Masterplan. We can but hope that in the near future ‘Chattertons’ will be springing up in various locations. 

As ever, the interests of the warm-hearted and resilient people of Tittleham have been on my mind. Preparations for the Christmas festivities are well under way at Tittleham Hall, and many of you will already know that Lady Veronica has been organising the Tittleham Choral Society to ensure that this year’s Evening of Song will be up to the usual standard.  

My dear wife tells me that she will kick things off in her famed booming contralto with a rendition of the Queen of the Night Aria from The Magic Flute. An appropriate start to the proceedings, I believe. 

Before the interval, there will be a 20-minute folk song from our charming Ukrainian refugee Zlata, who has recently returned from her family holiday in Kiev. She explained to me that her song is about the Holodomor, which tells how the monster Stalin listened to a scientist, Trofim Lysenko, whose ideas condemned millions to death. It seems that always happens when you pay too much attention to the boffins. 

Zlata will be singing in her native tongue, which means that her song shouldn’t be overly depressing, and I am assured that the members of Tittleham Ladies Choir are as game as ever to liven things up in the second half. 

Naturally, mulled wine and the usual home-made delicacies will be on sale and the proceeds of the evening will be sent to our Ukrainian charity, the Odessa Orchid Society. 

Your devoted servant,  

Sir Charles Chatterton MP 

Tittleham Hall

Middle Tittleham 

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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