Ockey elf: Fitness bid sets pulses racing

Dear Readers, I write to you today in a rather worried state on account of yet another ‘initiative’ that has come to light.

Its sole purpose is to increase physical activity in order to reduce the risk of heart disease in the over-50s. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) calls the campaign ’30 a Day’, and before you reach for the ciggies, remember they were banned on 1 July! No, the idea is to encourage people to take 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.

I can hear you all saying: ‘What’s wrong with that?’ At first glance the suggestion seems fairly reasonable – walking the dog, gardening and swimming. But SEX- I never thought I’d see the day.

GPs are being encouraged to use NHS funds to prevent chronic illness in later life. Now Ockey wouldn’t want to lead you astray here, but how on earth might such a scheme be managed and audited, and what lecherous individual thought it up in the first place? To go one step further, am I to assume that those with long-term conditions such as hypertension and diabetes will get the 30 minutes free along with other prescription items?

You won’t be surprised to hear that Patricia Hewitt is behind this one, because she wanted a ‘wider view’ to be taken in the delivery of healthcare. Well you’ll be pleased to hear that before she cleared her desk she set up the National Obesity Bureau (NOB), where all those deemed to be too cuddly would register in order to avail themselves of these flexible benefits.

Another issue here is why this level of flexibility is only available to the over-50s? Just as we’d all got used to being age positive the government does another athletic U-turn and promotes this blatantly ageist initiative. Does the left hand know what the right’s doing?

However, readers may be pleased to know that my GP thought my suggestion of shopping each day fulfilled the criteria, but purchases would have to be bought with my ‘flexible friend’!

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