Irish Medical Organisation

GP/RTE awareness campaign for diabetes - Operation Transformation

IMO GP Link up with one of RTE’s most successful TV and Radio Programmes

Letter to GPs - 30/11/2011   

RTE Operation Transformation is one of the most high profile programmes on RTE’s schedule and the most successful health-based reality TV programme of recent years.
The programme runs across RTE TV, RTE Radio and the RTE website and it follows a team of “leaders” through a seven week programme designed to improve their fitness, diet and general health.  The Radio end is led by John Murray through the John Murray Show and the TV programme is led by Kathryn Thomas.  The programme generates enormous viewer and listenership figures and huge coverage across other media.
For the last series, Operation Transformation worked alongside Prof. Donal O’Shea as he campaigned for restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets to show the calorie content of all food served, in what was called “Count Me In”.  This campaign was a huge success and as a result has had an impact on legislation that is due to come into effect in 2012.
This year, the programme wants to address Type 2 Diabetes and have approached the IMO for their assistance.  
For the forthcoming series [broadcast January 2012] there is an opportunity for IMO General Practitioners to link up with the programme specifically to highlight the growing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.  This, we believe will provide a terrific opportunity to positively reinforce the central role of GPs in the healthcare infrastructure.
Following consultation with the producers of RTE Operation Transformation we believe this is an opportunity which would positively reinforce the role of GPs as being at the heart of the healthcare system and experts on important subjects such as Diabetes and we would seek additional opportunities for GPs to discuss the disease and the outcome of the exercise.  The exposure is almost impossible to quantify but would certainly generate substantial coverage within the programme itself and in other media.  It supports our efforts to broaden the positive image of GPs in the community.  
However, in order for it to be possible we need the help and goodwill of IMO General Practitioners.
How it will work and what is required:
On the 19th January next there will be nine diabetes testing centres set up across the country:
Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Dublin; 
Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dublin;
Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick;
Quayside Shopping Centre, Sligo;
Galway Shopping Centre, Galway;  
Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork City; 
Square Shopping Centre, Waterford; 
Long Walk Shopping Centre, Dundalk;
Athlone Town Centre, Athlone
In each centre six GPs will be required to volunteer and be available for 3 hours to perform a Glucometer Reading test and offer some general guidance to those presenting. Those patients likely to need follow-up will be directed to their own GP for same. Those presenting will have arranged an appointment in advance and will be allocated a 10 minute slot.
This will take place and be filmed for the Programme on Thursday January 19th from 9.00 am – 12.00 noon with live broadcasts from each centre for Radio.  Members of the public would present for the test on the basis of completing a Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire and a Consent Form (all of which have been drawn up and agreed by myself and Dr. Mary Gray) which they would access from the RTE Operation Transformation website.
The success of this project depends very much on the co-operation, support and goodwill of quite a large number of GPs.  We can’t afford to engage in this without full confidence that support and co-operation will be forthcoming from IMO GP members across the country.
It is worth noting that the figures for RTE Operation Transformation Viewership are as follows:
Website: Operation Transformation’s website received over 2.5 million hits during their last series.  
Television:  Last year an average of 569,700 viewers tuned in for each of the eight episodes, this represented a 34% share of the available audience.
Radio: With over 332,000 listeners, The John Murray show on RTÉ Radio 1 is the radio home for Operation Transformation for the second year running and airs daily from 9am – 10am. 
If you are interested in being part of this event, please email your name and the location you can cover (listed above)  to Maria Murphy, IMO Director of Communications.  Subject Title: Operation Transformation.
Yours sincerely
Dr. Ronan Boland Dr. Mary Gray
IMO President Chair, IMO GP Committee

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