Say Hi to Healthy Ireland

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

Our moderately paid (well, compared to those people in RTE anyway) middle grade health service staff take time out from their vending machine lunch break to ponder Minister Reilly's new plan for a healthier nation...

Hello there.


What's up?


(Sigh) You already said that...

No, I mean Hi!... that's what's up.

I can feel this is going to be a long day...exactly what are we talking about here?


Ah this some sort of 'who's on first base thing?' Coz I'm not in the mood.

No, HI! or should I say, lower case 'hi', standing for Healthy Ireland, is the Government's new strategy to make us all healthier. Barbecue sauce flavoured crisp?

No thanks. I get the distinct feeling that you're using the term 'new' here advisedly. Are those copies of the strategy piled up on the saddle of your rusty exercise bike?

Yes grasshopper. Crispy Kreme doughnut?

No thanks. So give us the lowdown on this HI! thing.

You mean this 'hi' thing. Remember, everything's lower case nowadays. Well, let me read bits of it to you.

Ah, you heard about my insomnia...Go on...

'We will review the feasibility of co-terminosity of health service areas with local authority city/county boundaries, as aligning service provision and....'

That's actually slightly worse than I expected it to be. I don't expect much clarity in these reports but I think we've reached new depths of ajaysusry here. And a new word - 'co-terminosity'...what's that when it's at home?

Don't think it's ever at home, it's 'coterminous' so it may share boundaries with other homes, or sectoral areas, or regional regions etc....and there's more '...where possible these supports will be consolidated and strengthened...' and also-'strategies to develop social connectedness...' (stifles yawn)... supersized Mars Duo bar?

No thanks....does this document say anything about how we can stop people eating slightly smaller mountains of crap than they currently do, how we can make people less fat and get up off their sofas, stop them drinking their body-weight in Jaegermeister, Red Bull and Slovakian lager every Friday night, that sort of thing? Coz I'd really hate if we had to break decades of tradition and actually do some work on one of these strategies.

Give me a minute here, I'll just have a nothing on any reality stuff. Only virtual reality, I think. Oh's something - 'we will prioritise health literacy'.

No irony intended, presumably. This from the people who brought us 'coterminosity'.

Ah, at last here's something concrete and new...'key performance indicators and targets'. Fancy a slurp from my Slurpee?

No thanks. Very tempting, but health and safety and all that old boy. By 'targets', you mean, stuff we're actually going to have to do. Say it ain't so.

Stop trembling, you coward. Anyway, let's not lose the run of ourselves here. Let me draw your attention to a key phrase in the report - 'inter sectoral'. Reheated chicken nugget from yesterday?

Er, definitely no thanks. Ah! I get it. 'Inter-sectoral' presumably means lots of different organisations are going to be involved...

Yes. Which means...

We can always blame somebody else if nothing gets done. What do I mean 'if'? Sure it's a cast iron certainty that feck all will get done.

Got it in one. Wait, I think I've found something in the report which actually proposes doing things...'get people to eat more fruit...reduce people's weight.. cut smoking and drinking'. All this sounds very familiar. Speaking of fruit - fancy a segment of my Chocolate Orange?

No thanks. Those things sound familiar because they've all been said before in previous reports - Cardiovascular Health Policy, Food Safety Authority Healthy Eating Report, Obesity Strategy, Report into the Typhoid Epidemic of 1841, that type of thing. I'm getting a distinct feeling of deja vu.

No you're not. I've told you about this before. Deja vu is a psychological-neurological event when you think something is happening again even though it hasn't happened before. In this case, we're talking about the health service so it definitely has happened before, or has been designed not to happen,... I think.  So it's not Deja Vu, it's...

Groundhog Day? I'm confused.

You're a complete slave to popular culture. You never did think of taking that Open University course-broaden the mind and all that?

No, they withdrew the further education allowance anyway. Why are you chuckling?

I'm just remembering being at the Obesity Strategy launch in 2005 and Bertie wondering why de kids didn't play de hopscotch like dey useta.

You're just a snob. You don't like Bertie because he's working class.

No, I don't like Bertie because.. well...I have vague memories of minor details like tribunals and the country going bust...

Anyway, whatever happened to the Obesity Strategy?

Oh it was a great success, apart from the fact that only one fifth of the 93 recommendations were fully implemented. Can't imagine why. Here, have the last bit of my Rolo Easter egg. And have a few cans of Bladderski Serbian lager - €10 for a crate of 24 in your friendly local hypermarket. The weekend starts here. Go on, you know you want to...

No thanks. What's that you're looking at on your iPad?

Oh, it's a draft report- 'rebranding the health service'.

Riiiight...I'm getting a bad feeling here.

Well, here's the skinny. You know we're going to have Universally Expensive Health Insurance and all that and the HSE is going to be abolished and replaced by...whatever.

Er, yeah...

Well whatever replaces this great organisation- the naming rights are going to be up for grabs.

An Aviva stadium type deal, yeah I get it. I'm appalled of course, but it makes a perverse king of sense and it would be a guaranteed income stream in challenging financial times for the health service.

Glad you're getting with the programme.

I'm already writing the press release in my head without feeling an iota of self-loathing.

Only it's not just health insurers who are bidding for the naming rights. Tell me, do you not think it would be much easier and cheaper all round if we kept the HSE name and logo, only replaced the word Health word beginning with 'h'...a well known brand can I put tournament sponsor...

Don't say it, don't say it! Please don't say anything more. Ah feck it, throw them Rolos and lagers over here, and give us one of them chicken nuggets as well. So much for Lent.

Sugar tax still planned - Minister




Discussions on this topic are now closed.