In a column entitled “A Doctor’s Best Attributes” in the Irish Times Health Supplement in January 2008, Muiris Houston wrote about the responses he received to an earlier request asking people to share their thoughts about the sort of doctor’s attributes that best served their needs. The overwhelming response was “time”: time for the person to tell their story and have its meaning acknowledged. Houston concluded that time helps to “unmask medical mystery.” This struck a particular cord with me as I remember some time ago Pat, a woman with aphasia, giving a rich description of how she felt confined by the 15 minutes allocated for each of her appointments with her doctor. She related how this made her feel very anxious – and anxiety only increased her difficulties in saying what she wanted to say. Her difficulties were further compounded by what she described as the “attitude” of her doctor. Throughout consultations the doctor would look at the computer screen and for Pat, this conveyed the message that he was not listening to her – “maybe he was listening but it tells me he doesn’t want to know – it’s his attitude.” These factors together with others resulted in unsatisfactory consultations for Pat: “I can only get out one thing – I just want to get out as soon as possible.”