Wednesday 23 February 2011 by Malcolm Everall

Jamie’s Dream Hospital to ‘rescue NHS from the clutches of doctors and nurses’


Jamie Oliver’s plans to transform the entire National Health Service with a mixture of cheeky upbeat optimism, 30-minute gourmet meals, and lingering shots of his own grinning face have been given a cautious welcome by health professionals.

And Oliver, whose reality TV show ‘Jamie’s Dream Hospital’ will see him placed in absolute control of the sprawling St George’s Hospital in Tooting, says he is ‘wickedly excited’ by the prospect of working with ‘some really sick really sick people.’

“It’s gonna be absolutely mint,” he explained. “Up till now the only people allowed to work in hospitals have been doctors and nurses and surgeons, people like that.”

“And it’s all been about boring stuff like operations and taking medicine and rescuing old people who’ve fallen off the bog.”

“But all that is going to change. Bish bosh.”

The TV chef was drafted in by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on the back of his previous TV hit, Jamie’s Ministry of Defence, where he decommissioned a series of warships and whipped up a haddock and pine-nut bruschetta while surrendering control of the Falkland Islands.

But filming schedules for his new venture have been sketchy after the sudden departure of the entire St George’s management staff shortly after his appointment.

“Nah, it’s sad to see them go, they’re a wicked bunch,” said Oliver of the now-defunct St George’s Hospital Trust.

“But we were kind of pulling in different directions. They were all about budgets and waiting list targets and NICE guidelines. I’m all about getting in the kitchen and hugging the cook and showing her how to drizzle organic sunflower oil on a nice sardine and roasted parsnip salad. Pukka!”

Jamie’s Dream Hospital

Rosemary Salter, the outgoing chief executive of the Hospital trust, spoke with excitement of Oliver’s plans.

“I can’t wait to see him running that hospital,” she explained.

“Clearly a primary care facility with 7,500 members of staff serving the needs of 1.3 million people is just crying out to be run by a vacuous dick with a bottle of balsamic vinegar.”

“What do I know about the provision of healthcare, compared to somebody who does adverts for Sainsbury’s?”

And Eric Robson, a kidney transplant surgeon with fourteen years’ experience in the hospital’s renowned renal unit, has spoken with awe of the TV chef’s working methods.

“He said he wanted a sequence with a cute little girl with a tube up her nose, getting all better after her operation so she could try his pear and blueberry cheesecake and say how yummy it was.”

“Unfortunately, while the cameraman was setting up his equipment the patient died. He was furious with me.”

Big Society in action

Whitehall sources have expressed private concern at the amount of government work currently being outsourced to small television production companies.

Next year will see the launch of a number of projects including Justice with Titchmarsh, Daybreak: DEFRA and Hugh’s River Cottage Department for Work and Pensions.

But Oliver has responded angrily to suggestions that a focus on the hospital’s food, rather than the quality of medical treatment, will mean a reduction in standards of care.

“Listen, I’m a dad, and like all parents I know what’s best for my kids,” he insisted. “It’s really just common sense. And Jools’s friend Patsy went on a reflexology course after she left her job at Goldman Sachs and she knows loads of stuff about crystals.”

“But the way I see it, so long as you have some organic leek and marmite sausages on a bed of mashed celeriac, the job’s a good’un.”

“Get in,” he added.

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