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Thursday 18 July 2019
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Media Watch

An irreverent look at some of the biggest health stories in the media

Pudd’nhead Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has finally thrown in the public image towel. First, he takes our NHS and now he’s leaving us to fight for our pudding.

Speaking at a private meeting of more than 100 food companies, the secretary who puts the hell in health, said restaurant chains like Pizza Express, Starbucks and McDonald’s will risk being named and shamed if they don’t cut the sugar in their desserts.

Having obviously not considered just which synthetic compound would be left in the cup when McDonald’s removes the sugar from a McFlurry, Hunt claimed eating at a restaurant “is no longer a treat” for the British public, so it’s time for food companies to “step up” in the war against weight-gain.

In a swift act of doublethink, Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, added that if sugary food is available in restaurants but not in supermarkets, the industry will be unable to help us make healthier “choices”.

After all, nutritional education that could help us make actual choices is just not Nanny Hunt’s department – call Justine Greening for that.

Department of What?

Most of the people that work closely with the Department of Health aren’t really sure what it does, according to a survey released by the department itself.

After asking stakeholders about the department’s “role and purpose”, Ipsos Mori found that only 39% had any clue of what that is.

That leaves 61% either unsure or undecided as to what the fairly explicitly named department “has responsibility for”.

But in that majority only 35% fully admitted to not understanding the purpose of the Department of Health, while 26% “neither agreed or disagreed or didn’t know” – or they’re one of those quiet organisations that don’t want to raise their hand and hope someone else will ask the question for them.

However, that being said, the survey did allay fears in the Government, confirming that stakeholders had a grasp on what the department does “in theory” it’s just how that role works in practice that’s “less clear” – and when has one ever had anything to do with the other?

Consequence-free cocktails

At last, science has opened the door to endless weeknight drinking – maybe.

With the discovery of synthetic alcohol by Professor David Nutt from Imperial College London, bingers no longer need to stop partying in fear of the thumping headache the next day or the liver cancer in 20 years.

Nutt vouched for the new booze himself saying the “alcosynth” goes “very nicely” into a mojito and a Tom Collins, which, as he points out in his interview with The Independent, are two wildly different cocktails.

The Department of Health said they’re taking a wait-and-see approach before funding the product but saw it’s potential “for producing better workforce efficiency if no one was hungover”.

Perhaps a wise choice, as the former Government drugs advisor who was sacked from the role for claiming that taking ecstasy is less dangerous than riding a horse, said he was unclear on whether his concoction, a patented secret, was banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act.