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Light side: Time-bending Hunt, new technology & public trust

Found: The answer to all problems
The agitated gnashing of teeth was audible from the surgeries of General Practitioners recently when Jeremy Hunt took to the podium to advocate the “one-minute” patient consultation.

Many hospital doctors know full well the constant pressure to squeeze in more patients, but never fear! The Secretary of State’s solution is so simple it is a wonder it has not been thought of before.

“It’s incredibly important to see if there is a way of turning 10 minutes into one minute,” he declared hopefully at an event on e-consultations.

Hate to break it to you, Secretary of State, but while computers can indeed do many things, bending time is as yet not one of them.

Are doctors’ days numbered?
On the topic of technology, a minor war of words erupted recently after The Telegraph’s James Kirkup suggested that modern devices will end the need for doctors, so we might as well give up now.

“Treatment and management will become a conversation between equals where patients make informed choices and take real responsibility for their own health – the concept of ‘doctors’ orders’ becomes unthinkable,” he opined.

“The junior doctors should enjoy their position of strength for it will not last.”

Given the paper’s support for the government’s position in the ongoing dispute, one wonders about the source of Kirkup’s own orders. In any case, the last word went to DigitalHealthAge magazine, perhaps a little more on top of the subject than the Telegraph executive editor.

“Not only is it belittling, but it shows very little insight in to the way digital health works,” it concluded. That’s him told.

At least the public still love us
Sometimes it’s hard to keep a sense of perspective given the constant barrage of criticism levelled at the NHS and the profession.

However, it appears that despite the media’s best efforts, the general public still give doctors the thumbs up.

Perhaps Ipsos Mori’s annual poll of the level of trust in professions explains why.

It saw clinicians top the table, with 89 per cent of respondents backing them to tell the truth. Teachers and judges were the next two in line.

But pity the politicians, who languished at rock-bottom on 21 points in the trust index, slightly behind estate agents – and journalists.