The wrong kind of bond
We were captivated by this week’s headline in the Health Service Journal: “New NHS ‘bond’ could unlock capital funds, says Jim Mackey”.
Simons Stevens is good and his action-hero status has certainly been enhanced by his Arctic explorer beard, but the prospect of 007 joining the NHS England top team briefly put transformation plans in a thrilling new light.
The excitement was short-lived. The NHS Improvement boss was not talking about that Bond but an even more fictional source of salvation, a new “NHSI bond”. We won’t detain you with the details, but it was less Bond, more Connery: a scheme to sell shares in run-down NHS estate to generate cash, er, to improve run-down NHS estate.
And just when you thought the junk bond had gone out of fashion. Very clever, Mr Mackey.
While we leave Mr Mackey to make arrangements for his hedge fund, let’s explore instead the far better idea he nearly had (with apologies to Bond fans for any inaccuracies and anachronisms).
Those plot summaries in full
Dr No – First and still considered by many to be the best of the franchise, starring Simon Stevens as James Bond and Jim Mackey as Dr No. Whatever the question, particularly if it starts with “Can we have more money…?” the answer is “Doctor, no.” Surprise twist at the end when it turns out that Bond and Dr No have been working together all along.
The Man With the Golden Gun – Smooth-talking Roger Moore reprises the role of Stevens (Surely Bond? – Ed.) to take on the reclusive technocrat Scaramanga (Andrew Lansley), who plans to “liberate” the NHS with a golden bullet. Bond tracks him to his island lair for the showdown in which Scaramanga’s enormously complex headquarters is blown up along with his terrifying collection of organisational diagrams.
Die Another Day – Hi-ranking official C (Jeremy Hunt) reveals a plot by the BMA to bring down the government by brainwashing junior doctors. Q invents a laser cunningly disguised as credible evidence and codenamed Weekend Effect, which backfires shooting H several times in the foot. But comical BMA arch-villain Dr Proton (Rowan Atkinson) is unable to drive home his advantage and the film ends in an exciting anti-climax as the doctors give up and go back to work.
Goldfinger – Evil villain Auric Goldfinger (Mackey) plots to destroy the world’s gold reserves by ploughing money into deficit-ridden NHS trusts. When all the cash is used up, the value of his worthless NHS Improvement bonds is set to soar. Love interest provided by the New Care Models Flying Circus, featuring impossibly glamorous pilots with big budgets and rickety aircraft.
Casino Royale – Bond has to stop microfilm of secret plans to save the world falling into enemy hands. Bond gambles everything on his Forward View in a tense game of poker with HM Treasury. M (Mackey) is upset when the evil Treasury reveals that Bond’s “frontloaded” winnings can never be cashed in.
The STP Who Loved Me – Bond is tasked with breaking up the network of sinister “commissioners” in the pay of terror organisation SPECTRE (the SPecial Executive for Cost-reduction, Transformation, Reconfiguration and trust us Everything will be fine). Bond must turn them into highly efficient local strategic units with orders to eliminate themselves. The reorganisation must be kept secret, despite the fact that it’s all over the news. Bond has only five minutes to complete the task before a huge demographic time-bomb goes off. Criticised for its complicated, far-fetched plot and secretive release.
Movie editor: Julian Patterson