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10 things you need to know about Roy Hodgson

He's an "old-school socialist" and a Philip Roth fan.

It's official: Roy Hodgson has been named the new England manager. The 64-year-old has managed 16 different teams in eight countries, and coached a number of sides including Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, FC Copenhagen, Grasshoppers and Halmstads BK. 

But Hodgson also leads an exciting life outside football...

1. He's a big literature fan

Hodgson spilled his passion for reading to the Daily Mail last year, saying: “I’ve got quite a voracious appetite. I enjoy the classics or good story-tellers. I’ve read nearly all of those who have won the Nobel Prize. I like Philip Roth, John Updike and Richard Yates. I had a period where I read a lot of Czech literature, the likes of Milan Kundera and Ivan Klima. I like German writers, too, such as Hermann Hesse."

England's new manager was spotted at the 2009 launch of Sebastian Faulks' A Week in December - deep in conversation with the author himself.

2. He's an "old-school socialist"...

...according to an acquaintance.

3. He enjoys high-brow entertainment

During his two years at Fulham, Hodgson enjoyed attending the opera, in particular Puccini's Turandot and Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. He has also confessed that one of his favourite films is Gerard Depardieu's Quand j'etais chanteur, and is a fan of the slick 1960s drama Mad Men, which he described as "outstanding".

4. He speaks six languages

Whoever said the English were ignorant abroad? Hodgson speaks fluent Norwegian, Swedish, Japanese, German and Italian - as well as some French, Finnish, Danish and Korean.

5. He's down with the kids

In the 1970s, Hodgson was a PE teacher at Alleyn's School in South London. He also worked in a school in Pretoria, South Africa.

6. He plays the harmonica

...according to the Daily Star

7. He collects watches

In a recent interview, Hodgson told the Mail that if his house were burning down, his expensive watches would be the first items to be rescued.

8. He compared himself to Russian artist Kandinsky

Hodgson said of his career: "I've gone sideways, backwards and upwards again."

9. In a film of his life, he would like to be played by Hugh Grant

He may be in luck. Grant is a Fulham supporter and in 2010 claimed: "I want to sleep with Roy Hodgson."

10. He's not Harry Redknapp


Update: The New Statesman has also learnt that Roy Hodgson was in the same year as Jamie Reid, who did the Sex Pistols art work, at the John Ruskin grammar school. Folk singer Ralph McTell also attended the school. 

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Want to know how you really behave as a doctor? Watch yourself on video

There is nothing quite like watching oneself at work to spur development – and videos can help us understand patients, too.

One of the most useful tools I have as a GP trainer is my video camera. Periodically, and always with patients’ permission, I place it in the corner of my registrar’s room. We then look through their consultations together during a tutorial.

There is nothing quite like watching oneself at work to spur development. One of my trainees – a lovely guy called Nick – was appalled to find that he wheeled his chair closer and closer to the patient as he narrowed down the diagnosis with a series of questions. It was entirely unconscious, but somewhat intimidating, and he never repeated it once he’d seen the recording. Whether it’s spending half the consultation staring at the computer screen, or slipping into baffling technospeak, or parroting “OK” after every comment a patient makes, we all have unhelpful mannerisms of which we are blithely unaware.

Videos are a great way of understanding how patients communicate, too. Another registrar, Anthony, had spent several years as a rheumatologist before switching to general practice, so when consulted by Yvette he felt on familiar ground. She began by saying she thought she had carpal tunnel syndrome. Anthony confirmed the diagnosis with some clinical tests, then went on to establish the impact it was having on Yvette’s life. Her sleep was disturbed every night, and she was no longer able to pick up and carry her young children. Her desperation for a swift cure came across loud and clear.

The consultation then ran into difficulty. There are three things that can help CTS: wrist splints, steroid injections and surgery to release the nerve. Splints are usually the preferred first option because they carry no risk of complications, and are inexpensive to the NHS. We watched as Anthony tried to explain this. Yvette kept raising objections, and even though Anthony did his best to address her concerns, it was clear she remained unconvinced.

The problem for Anthony, as for many doctors, is that much medical training still reflects an era when patients relied heavily on professionals for health information. Today, most will have consulted with Dr Google before presenting to their GP. Sometimes this will have stoked unfounded fears – pretty much any symptom just might be an indication of cancer – and our task then is to put things in proper context. But frequently, as with Yvette, patients have not only worked out what is wrong, they also have firm ideas what to do about it.

We played the video through again, and I highlighted the numerous subtle cues that Yvette had offered. Like many patients, she was reticent about stating outright what she wanted, but the information was there in what she did and didn’t say, and in how she responded to Anthony’s suggestions. By the time we’d finished analysing their exchanges, Anthony could see that Yvette had already decided against splints as being too cumbersome and taking too long to work. For her, a steroid injection was the quickest and surest way to obtain relief.

Competing considerations must be weighed in any “shared” decision between a doctor and patient. Autonomy – the ability for a patient to determine their own care – is of prime importance, but it isn’t unrestricted. The balance between doing good and doing harm, of which doctors sometimes have a far clearer appreciation, has to be factored in. Then there are questions of equity and fairness: within a finite NHS budget, doctors have a duty to prioritise the most cost-effective treatments. For the NHS and for Yvette, going straight for surgery wouldn’t have been right – nor did she want it – but a steroid injection is both low-cost and low-risk, and Anthony could see he’d missed the chance to maximise her autonomy.

The lessons he learned from the video had a powerful impact on him, and from that day on he became much more adept at achieving truly shared decisions with his patients.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide