John Hutton was reminiscing on his appointment as health minister as he launched the University of the National Health Service's development plan last week. He was visiting a secure psychiatric hospital in Vermont in the US, when the reshuffle was announced. He said: "I was being shown round this hospital when the director was asked to take an urgent call. I could see things were not going well and the director finally put the phone down in exasperation. 'Just someone claiming to be the prime minister of Britain,' he said."