ELDERLY people in hospital will be referred to by a number under new NHS guidelines.
Instead of calling older patients 'love', 'deary' or any other term that makes them feel cared for, NHS staff must bark the patient's designated serial number and ask them a list of pointed questions.
According to the guidelines a typical scenario would involve a nurse leaning over an elderly patient and shouting, 'number 16, please inform me of the current status of your condition'.
Depending on the response the staff member would then reply 'prepare to be administered with medication' or 'satisfactory, please continue with your recovery'.
Ministers are also considering a proposal to have all geriatric inmates stand by their beds once a day while a pair of snarling Dobermans searches the ward for contraband.
Health secretary Alan Johnson said: "Older people in hospital are always complaining about how the nurses are too friendly, or the way doctors keep asking them how they're feeling as if they actually care.
"One old woman even wrote to me saying she'd been given a lovely cup of tea and a delicious chocolate biscuit and demanded that the nurse responsible be dismissed or, at the very least, pushed under a bus."
Number 1785, a retired school teacher from Woking with a hiatus hernia, said: "I am number 1785. I am moderately well today. Please wheel me towards the lavatory."