There will be no health sector shakeup as long as its fetish for acronyms is allowed to continue unfettered. Elsewhere, Jacinda Ardern’s level of waffle exceeded the five slice capacity. James Elliott has the news of the week.
In many countries there would be unbridled panic and alarm if you watched a primetime TV news item that said that a government minister had “punched in the launch codes and ordered a nuclear strike, obliterating…”.
Fortunately this news item was broadcast here in New Zealand where, as far as I’m aware, we don’t have launch codes, we can’t order a nuclear strike and where “obliterating” is a term exclusively reserved to describe try-scoring in Super Rugby.
This apocalyptic metaphor was Tova O’Brien’s summation of Andrew Little’s announcement this week of a major revamp of the country’s health system. What’s being obliterated are the country’s 20 DHBs which I hope is just the first salvo in a wider war against the use of ridiculous acronyms in the health sector.
For example, the imminent obliteratee that is the Nelson Malborough DHB has a publicly available seven-page list of more than 400 commonly used-in-the-health-sector acronyms; which puts a lot of strain on the word “commonly”. An LTCCP is a Long Term Council Community Plan, which would lead you to assume that there must also be an STCCP. And you would be wrong.
KiwiAnything is now doomed thanks to the dismal failure of KiwiBuild due to an acute case of INEPT, the acronym for “Inadequate Non-Performance Effected by Phil Twyford”.
There is of course no such thing as a Short Term Council anything. And since this is a list relating to medical matters you would assume that DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. And you would be wrong. DNA stands for “Did Not Attend”, an acronym commonly used to describe attendance levels at meetings to discuss an LTCCP. Perhaps the most misleading acronym of all is PSAAP which stands for PHO Service Agreement Amendment Protocol, which would lead you to assume that a PSAAP is a universally accepted change in recipe instruction for the making of a Vietnamese noodle soup. And you would be wrong. In this context, PHO is an AWAA (an acronym within another acronym) which stands for Primary Health Organisation. So a PSAAP is a Primary Health Organisation Service Agreement Amendment Protocol, and also the worst pub quiz question of all time.
There was tangible trepidation in some quarters during the week as to what the new health organisation would be called. In particular, there was concern that it might be given the doom moniker KiwiHealth. KiwiAnything is now doomed thanks to the dismal failure of KiwiBuild due to an acute case of INEPT, the acronym for “Inadequate Non-Performance Effected by Phil Twyford”. In fact the Kiwi prefix has been so badly tainted by the KiwiBuild debacle that the North Island brown kiwi now prefers to be referred to by its formal name Apteryx mantelli. As it transpired the name of the new entity is Health NZ which is expected to take over the reins in July next year.
A PSAAP is a Primary Health Organisation Service Agreement Amendment Protocol, and also the worst pub quiz question of all time.
Just how much Mike Hosking is opposed to this health sector reform is unknown as he’s on holiday this week. It is nonetheless a lock that he will be opposed to these changes, somewhere on the scale between vehemently and apoplectically. That’s because all Labour government policy is now swab tested to ensure that it meets the required WWMHND standard “What Would Mike Hosking Not Do?”
Jacinda Ardern might have assumed that with Mike Hosking’s absence from the airwaves this week she was going to be in for an easier ride with the media. And she would have been wrong. Appearing on Australia’s Today Show to talk about the travel bubble she was grilled about the dawdling pace of New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine roll out which is the second slowest in the OECD. In response to the grilling the PM resorted to waffling. Again. In fact this serving of waffles would have even outdone the five slice capacity of the ZIP 127 Waffle Iron – that’s the one with the polished stainless steel lid, the cool touch handles and the skid resistant rubber feet for bench top stability.
According to the PM, when it comes to the vaccine rollout “we want a continuous trajectory”, “we’re looking to get really high levels of vaccinations” and “we don’t want to be in a position where we shoot up, then run out, and then have to get back up again”. The only logical follow-up question to that is “Can I please have some maple syrup and blueberries to go with your three slices of lightly toasted waffle?”.
Finally, on the topic of toasted, spare a thought for “Zipping Sarah” the greyhound that was drugged by its trainer leading to a headline that could only really appear in KiwiNews, “Greyhound Trainer Fined After Dog Tests Positive For Meth”.
Have a peaceful weekend.