“I do not intervene, I am merely a politician.”

Northern Ireland Health Minister Michael McGimpsey is resisting media and political pressure on him to interfere with a clinical decision made in line with existing NHS guidelines. Needless to say, the self-styled “biggest show in the country” was involved again. I didn’t hear the whole discussion this morning [mp3 file], but I thought I’d remind the presenter concerned of his comments after a previous attempt to interfere with a clinical decision, in 2006, as transcribed at the time

“Decisions are made by doctors every day of every week. Within that decision making has to be the consideration of the probability of success. Ethical decisions have to made in medicine. We cannot have hosptials and doctors being bullied. Bullied by the media. Bullied by programmes like this when they do not think (the patient) has a good chance of life”

In this case, the restricted resources are not merely monetary. Adds From the Irish Times report

Gareth’s doctor Tony Tham said the Ulster Hospital again contacted King’s College Hospital yesterday but was told there could be no exceptions and its protocol could not be changed. “There are many patients of all ages waiting for liver transplants. Livers are a scarce resource and demand exceeds supply. Liver transplants in certain settings associated with alcohol are risky and have a poor outcome,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Update BBC report.