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 Blair to release hospitals from jail
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said that the government will give extra freedom to the country's best-performing hospitals. Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Blackpool, Mr Blair said that he would "change the system" and "put power in the hands of the professionals".

Human rights charity Amnesty International, a long-time campaigner for the freeing of prisoners, supported the move. "For too long now British hospitals have been kept prisoner at the government's will and without charge," said their UK spokesman, Dr Gregory T Mullet. "It is time for them to be unchained, let out of their dingy cells underneath Whitehall and left to get on with their lives."

Under the new proposals, hospitals that were imprisoned under David Blunkett's anti-terrorism Act will be released and allowed to manage themselves. "We will be free to do whatever we like," exclaimed an excited manager from Sussex. "We could stop being a hospital. We could stop taking in patients. We could become a fast food restaurant! This is what I've always wanted!"

Applications are reportedly already flooding in to planning departments across the country for hospitals to relocate to "somewhere warmer, like the south of France". Surprisingly, the Tories are backing the idea. "I can't think of a better solution," said Shadow Health Secretary Liam Fox. "The government is already sending patients to France for treatment, so we might as well send all our hospitals over there too. It's about supply and demand - it makes sense really. Perhaps I should go over there for a while to make sure it's working?"

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