In Which Tony Meets Jamie (but Ends Up Back with Gordon)

By King, Martin | The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, May 2005 | Go to article overview

In Which Tony Meets Jamie (but Ends Up Back with Gordon)


King, Martin, The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health


Media maladies

The problem with the media and stories about the NHS is that it rarely wants to enter into a grown up debate about the real issues that face those trying to provide healthcare in the 21st century - it's more about political point scoring, shroud waving and celebrity attachment. Which is how Jamie got to meet Tony and become the saviour of school dinners and some sort of national hero - if not to dinner ladies (who apparently have lost all the key feminine skills and can now only warm up smiley potato faces and turkey twizzlers - there's one in the eye for patriarchy) then at least to ladies who lunch and buy organic. The middle classes have embraced the cockney geezer - although everyone I have talked to about this always prefaces the conversation with "I used to think Jamie Oliver was a t****r but...". At least his popularity is moving in the right direction - people have taken to saying exactly the opposite about Tony. Anyway, as Ronnie Corbett used to say, I digress...

Generally, though, the geezer is not wrong - in fact, he's quite right to pull apart unidentifiable pieces of frozen school dinner on TV and denounce it as 'crap'. Unfortunately, it takes a celebrity intervention to make the link between poor health and increasing obesity in children and the stuff they eat at school (or are bombarded with adverts for).

Of course, someone then pops up from the private sector partner (don't you just hate partnership working?) talking about tight margins and the need for choice. Yes, choice and partnership - the New Labour mantra for the NHS.

Time was when the patient-doctor partnership was a simple one. …

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