Irish Minister diagnosed with a tumour on live TV by surgeon watching programme

A very interesting case. Irish Junior Minister Conor Lenihan was remotely diagnosed as he appeared on the Irish current affairs programme Prime Time in late December, while discussing the legacy of Charles Haughey.

According to the interview he gave yesterday to Morning Ireland, a Consultant Surgeon (who wished to remain anonymous) rang the show asked to speak to the Minister, advising him to seek advice.

Sure enough, a tumour was removed in early January. In the audio interview, he mentions how though non-malignant, the early intervention ensured that nerves along the jaw-line were not damaged – potentially this could have led to a palsy on the left side of his face.

The actual progamme that spurred the diagnosis is here (about 4mins 50 seconds in)

This type of story makes me feel good.

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Choose & Book profiled on Newsnight

Newsnight on BBC2 tonight (wednesday) had a piece  on Choose and Book – part of a larger debate on the UK Governments push for Choice in public services such as Health and Education. The package was less than positive on the whole initiative – uptake to now, as has been well documented online, is poor.

When you see a TV programme covering these points – lack of prior consultation with the GP community, lack of integration with practice vendor software, and an interim web based solution that is slow – you quickly realise that it is very, very easy for the general public to form negative opinions of these types of initiatives.

While I totally agree with the concept and thrust of "Choice" with regard to any service – private or public, I think the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the night had sensible pragmatism (I paraphrase and add to the sentiment expressed); the individual will invariably choose local services if available, taking into account the relevant parameters of distance, time, cost, etc.