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GPs go forth

'We must tackle the epidemic of stupid tweets'

Pulse's Daily Probe report takes a satirical look at a GP issue that is - or could be - in the news 

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Speech by the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP. Delivered on: 20 March 2019 (Original script, may differ from tweets…)

’Today, we address a new scientific breakthrough: predictive texts. I talk a lot, as health secretary, about the need to harness technology to improve and save lives. This past week, that’s been brought directly home to me.

'Last week I took part in a predictive text test. I wanted to find out whether I was at high risk of any bad press from a stupid tweet.

'I was really looking forward to it. The process was simple and easy: spit on your hand, wiggle it about on a smart phone, send a tweet. I waited a couple of minutes while the tweet was analysed by a team at Oxford University.

'The bad news? The tweet showed that, despite no family history, I’m in the worst 20% for idiocy.

'I have around a 50% higher risk of a Darwin award than the average person. I was obviously worried when I was first told this.

'But while it’s not good news, it’s good news to have. Death from idiocy is more treatable if diagnosed early. But idiocy can be a silent killer, and tragically, so many men don’t find out until it’s too late.

But it doesn’t have to be.

I wanted to find out whether I was at high risk of any bad press, and how it would make me feel

'It may sound weird but I’m now absolutely delighted. I’ve already booked a Skype call from my online doctor, and obviously I’ll be on alert as I get older. By using predictive texting we can help people at higher risk of a stupid tweet earlier.

'And we can’t just ignore it.

'After all, thousands of people are already at risk of sending stupid tweets, and many are now turning up at their GP surgery. We need to harness the power of this new technology to diagnose and prevent idiocy, and that means using it right.

'Some people say we shouldn’t encourage the "worried well". I feel that’s the wrong response. We need to understand that people will have genuine concerns and we must give them the help and support they need to make sense. If that means taking their phones off them when they want to tweet something stupid about screening, so be it.'

Today's Daily Probe report is written by Dr Samir Dawlatly, a GP in Birmingham

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    Thanks to 21st century technology with smartphone and social media , we have a modernised definition of 'ignorance' , one of the Five Giant Evils named by William Beverige in 1942.
    While illiteracy was perhaps really 'evil' and many people were unable to express their opinions with little knowledge, we have now millions of 'Key Opnion Leaders' (KOLs) making this world 'better' everyday. Wonderful !😂

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  • Vinci Ho

    Such a strong temptation to pick up your smartphone and write something on your most favourite social media everyday , why?
    I would like to recall George Orwell’s four insightful explanations in his prose ‘Why I write?’ in 1946:-

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  • Vinci Ho

    (i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
    (ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
    (iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
    (iv) Political purpose. — Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

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