I think that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (abbreviated to NICE, so they can’t even bloody well spell) has a/too much time on its hands, and b/its head up its arse. It’s a quango, so can do pretty well what it likes. Of course, it could be calling for better provision for children with mental health problems, or not advising against certain life enhancing cancer treatments on the grounds of cost, but it generally restricts itself to blithering idiocy in the form of ridiculous health advice.

This week saw two bits of stupidity. Here’s the first. Schools should teach children how to wash their hands. Yes, really.

I kind of lean toward the idea that a child who reaches school unable to wash its own hands is being subjected to some pretty shoddy parenting. I’ve been washing my own hands since I was tall enough to reach the taps.

Then there’s the thorny problem of who would be responsible for the teaching, and this is likely to fall onto the poor beleaguered teachers and assistants who are already being run ragged trying to keep up to date on the ever shifting mandates and targets from the DoE. They just don’t have the time.

Don’t have the time, I hear you ask? Yes. Because to wash your hands thoroughly, you need to remember that every digit has, as any decent scrub nurse will tell you, a top surface, a bottom surface, two sides, and a tip. To do the job properly, you need to work all that in. Watch an episode of ER and you’ll see what I mean.

Plus I also feel that children might be better of running round outside a bit than being subjected to this twaddle.

Here’s the second. Parents whose children are going to university should teach their little treasures how to deal with minor ailments. This will allegedly stop them turning up at A&E with a snuffly nose. Get to the age of majority not knowing the ‘couple of aspirins/paracetamol and some hot lemon and honey’ routine and you’re not fit to be allowed out unaccompanied. If you’ve never heard of Lemsip or Beecham’s Powders you’ve spent far too long on your studies.

Going back to the washing thing, I was discussing this dimwittery with my friend Kev, and we were united in our revulsion at the childhood phenomenon of the spitwash. Why mothers think that a hankie full of gob it preferable to their little tykes looking a wee bit grubby is beyond the comprehension of both of us. Horrible. ‘Get off mum!’

Oh, and NICE is a pulsing hive of industry. As you can see.