The worst of all possible things happened when I visited the Doctor’s last week. No, I wasn’t diagnosed with a horribly contagious form of the H1N1 flu virus, it was worse than that – my Carte Vitale was actually sicker than I.

“Oh, erm. Who is Stephen Godfrey?” asked the Doctor as he attempted to process my prescription.

“I have no idea. Why?”

“Because that’s the name on your Carte Vitale.”

“Shome mishtake shurely?”

I was invited to see the evidence for myself, and sure enough the name of Stephen Godfrey (who by coincidence sounds remarkably like the name of another Englishman in France) flickered on the screen, right about where my name should have been.

Now, this worried me greatly, knowing that when my wife ‘lost’ her Carte Vitale (she blames the baby for emptying her handbag one day) the authorities were, and have yet to provide her with a new one eighteen months later. Due, they say, to the fact that they are in the process of switching systems and so losing it at that particular moment was terribly inconvenient.

Now, as a family we are without a Carte Vitale at all – which means we are entitled to bugger all when we visit the Doctor or Hospital, and will be forced to fill in reams of paperwork every time we want to get healthcare of any description. Bloody great.

I am now in two minds as to whether to send off my old card to the authorities, as to do so would leave me with nothing to suggest that I was ever in the healthcare system in the first place.

The other question in my mind is – is this a one off?  Is it possible that thousands of other people have Stephen Godfrey on their cards? Could someone be carrying my name on their card? If this is possible – it means that all sorts of bogus transactions could take place. If the Doctor had processed my prescription without checking the name for example – Mr Godfrey would have received my refund.

Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” springs to mind …