Cleverness and real advances encounter medical newspeak

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From: Barrie Frost, Watson’s Lane, Reighton, Filey.

THE quite superb and very advanced medical equipment, which greatly assists and allows surgeons to perform very complex operations with huge benefits for the patients through less invasive surgery and shorter hospital stays, is most welcome and shows technology being used to properly benefit mankind.

Not all modern advances, however, improve our lives and in too many cases it appears to simply demonstrate “how clever some are”, this being particularly evident in the electronic gadgetry which fills modern cars.

Recently, it was announced that the volume of a car radio, could, in future, be controlled by the up and down movements of the hand. Now, have I got this right? Some 40 years ago my first car radio’s volume was controlled by the slight movement of the index finger and thumb turning a small knob, either to the left or to the right, so is this “new” technology really an advancement?

I hope there’s never a disagreement between the driver and passenger as the car radio’s volume will go haywire. The clock in my old car could also tell me the time even when parked, without any need to turn on the ignition, and, all the rigmarole required to alter it when the “clocks change”, is often bewildering.

Previously I only had to turn a small knob, again either clockwise or anti-clockwise, but now, I need to read the Owner’s Manual every six months to find which menu has to be selected and which keys have to be pressed to carry out this previously very simple function.

Similarly, the small handle which wound the window down could be used at any time without the ignition. Car makers are boasting of a button for starting the engine!

Surprise, surprise, the Mini van I had in the 60s had a starter button on the floor. But now, the ultimate accessory is to become a common fitment, an item so essential I have to wonder how I’ve managed to drive for so long without it. A touch-screen will soon appear on most new cars which will allow Facebook postings to be read, inform friends of the music you are listening to and where you are, etc. The benefits this will bring when driving along the A64 must be immense!

What a pity all these developments cannot be used to make drivers use the car’s indicators to inform others of their intentions. Are they too difficult to use? And, likewise, do they believe that using dipped headlights in murky weather conditions costs them money and wears out the bulbs too quickly, as still too many drivers won’t use them? Cannot they understand how much easier they, themselves, find it is to see the cars using dipped headlights?

Probably I’m being unreasonable in expecting such basic safety functions to take precedence over other more advanced technology, but should we all have to pay for such useless fittings?

From: RC Dales, Church View, Brompton, Northallerton.

YOUR news item (Yorkshire Post, January 26) revealed that our health service in North Yorkshire will be undermined. It is not acceptable that the outgoing Primary Care Trust will pass on to their successors a “debt” of up to £9m.

The Clinical Commission will be penalised for something they have not done, resulting in a reduction in health care. When a company folds up and assets sold but debts remain, there is no option but to write them off. This should apply to the Primary Care Trust. In any case, isn’t the word “debt” a misnomer? Should it be described as “overspending”?

The Trust has exceeded a budget, which itself may or may not be fair? If the Trust has left debts to parties outside the NHS, the NHS as parent body should pay them. If the so-called debts are only overspending this is a paper transaction, easily expunged.

What action are our MPs taking to ensure that health care in North Yorkshire is not so impaired?

From: Don Booker, Hall Place, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

IT appears another aspect of life is being explored with a view to yet another change. NHS bosses are apparently considering renaming hospital A&E departments “999” and “111” departments in-line with emergency telephone numbers (Yorkshire Post, January 31). Once again experts are said to be concerned over increased demand for these services.

What difference a change will make puzzles me, because people have always gone to these departments after an accident or sudden serious illness. For years the department was known only as “Casualty” like the popular television series. Is it another situation where a very highly paid executive is asking “What can we do next”? A&E departments have bigger things to think about than the numbers game. They have always been a life-saver.