GOVERNMENT health officials say the receipt for 30 million useless swine flu vaccines is definitely around somewhere.
The key piece of paper was last recorded in the pocket of a senior civil servant's spare trousers. However, it is now believed his housekeeper has put the chinos into a washing machine with the receipt still in the pocket, reducing it to a hard, lumpy, white blob.
Ministers have been warned to keep receipts for £50 million and over after impulse-buying a new NHS computer system that doesn't seem to work as well as it did in the shop.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: "Since the announcement that everyone isn't going to definitely die we have moved quickly to ensure that we are partially reimbursed for any surplus drugs, or at least get a credit note or some kind of gift voucher.
"We're not totally sure where the vaccine receipt is but it will definitely turn up. I've got my wife looking for it and she's like a truffle pig when it comes to finding my keys or whatever, you wouldn't believe it."
He added: "On the down side, we've wasted about 350 truckloads of public money on the pharmaceutical equivalent of a Sinclair C5. On the up side, Biblical plague cancelled plus the weather's really starting to pick up, isn't it?"
A health department insider said: 'I've been through the plastic folder that we keep all our bits and bobs in and it's definitely not there.
"I think we may have to just take the vaccines back and say we've lost it. Let's hope they'll be all nice and John Lewis about it. Thank fuck we didn't buy them from PC World."
The insider added: "Failing that we could take them to a car boot sale, although that would mean having to get up at stupid o'clock and standing next to a smelly man selling hard-core Bulgarian pornography and tube socks. Not sure I fancy that."