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Messianic garden cities


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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Messianic garden cities

Now that local sustainability and transformation plans are rolling out of fabrication plants up and down the country, it’s high time for a new plan.

The NHS is to help the 10 areas chosen by the government for new housing development to become healthy towns.

Simon Stevens was quick to explain the scheme in media-friendly sound bites. “We'll kick ourselves if in 10 years' time we look back having missed the opportunity to 'design out' the obesogenic environment, and 'design in' health and wellbeing," he said, echoing the oft-heard concerns of ordinary people about rising levels of urban obesogenicity.

So how will the NHS help?

The healthy towns plan (HTP) will require each area to submit a draft local plan by next Tuesday. The plan will need to show that people who live there will agree to stop being fat, lazy, pleasure-seeking or unhealthy, unless they really can’t help it, in which case they will need to try a lot harder.

Each local plan will be used by planners to inform the strategic plan. These plans will go out to consultation and the best elements of the revised plans will be collated in the final plan, which will be the foundation for the implementation plan on which all future plans are based.

Planners will be assisted by a streamlined taskforce comprising health and wellbeing boards, Healthwatch, NHS Improvement, NHS trusts, GP leaders, the CQC, commissioning support units, clinical senates, local professional networks, academic and health science networks, CCGs, Public Health England, representative bodies, NICE, the BMA, the local authority, patient groups, community and faith groups, the voluntary sector, nurses, dieticians, psychologists, celebrity chefs, fitness and lifestyle gurus, addiction specialists, IT experts, relationship managers, engagement leads, media advisers, consultants, financial analysts, lawyers, futurologists, a former winner of the X Factor and a visiting professor of truisms from the US.

NHS England will work hand in hand with all other arms-length bodies to co-ordinate the various committees, subcommittees and co-committees, oversight committees and task and finish groups, provide guidance, assure quality, monitor performance against the plan and issue press releases.

It will create a league table – the urban healthiness index – which will be published on NHS Choices to allow the public to make informed decisions about the best places to move to if they want to improve their life chances.

Mandatory features of the so-called Stevens New Towns or Messianic Garden Cities are:

  • Plenty of wide open spaces where children can ride their bikes and play football safely – perfect as a backdrop for interviews with health bosses and photo opportunities with visiting ministers
  • Every district hospital to include a fully equipped media centre offering a round the clock seven-day service
  • Restaurants to sell only healthy options, including the quinoa and chickpea McStevens Happy Meal™, Dame Sal’s Hard-boiled Quorn Nuggets™ and Big Jim’s Cold Comfort™ range of gruel-based improvement superfoods.

An NHS England spokesman said: “Supporting healthy living towns shows that the NHS is determined to find something other than junior doctors and hospital deficits to talk to the press about.”

NHS replacement therapy

In related news, Simon Stevens has announced that 44 transformation patches will cover England.

For the uninitiated, a patch is a safe way to deliver a controlled dose of transformation. Traditional roll-your-own initiatives are rarely sustainable and often prove fatal. 

An alternative is e-transformation, where the user inhales a cloud of harmless vapour from a small press release, producing an immediate “hit” to satisfy the craving for coverage.

Doctors advise that in all cases the effects are short-lived and it’s safer to quit altogether.

“There is no conclusive research about the long-term effects of transformation, but we want to see it banned in all its forms,” said a doctors’ spokesman, who warned that the traditional GP making home visits in a Ford Poplar and smelling of carbolic could soon be a thing of the past.

Religious affairs editor: NHS Networks 


Steve Benjamin
Steve Benjamin says:
Mar 04, 2016 06:54 AM

Brilliant. Possibly one of your best yet. I have regularly enjoyed some of your more 'to the point' jabs, but this one has more than a subtle wink towards Blackadder, a hint of, 'really, did you just say that?'

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Mar 04, 2016 09:50 AM

Thank you, Steve. "I have a cunning plan..."

Linda Mace-Michalik
Linda Mace-Michalik says:
Mar 04, 2016 12:01 PM

Please keep these coming! They are not only thoroughly enjoyable but they make me look sideways but at the current NHS topics. Beautifully packaged! Thank you!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Mar 04, 2016 12:06 PM

Thanks, Linda. Feedback much appreciated.

Sam Toms
Sam Toms says:
Mar 04, 2016 12:11 PM

Excellent as usual - Careful with applying transformation patches to sensitive locations; known side effects are headaches and dizziness, causing short-term problems with stability.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Mar 04, 2016 01:36 PM

Sensitive areas, please note. Someone at least has read the instructions.