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Dublin: 14°C Monday 14 June 2021

Doctor writes to Met Éireann to say metric system is causing "confusion" among elderly patients

The doctor said a large number of his elderly patients did not understand weather warnings.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

DOCUMENTS RELEASED TO TheJournal.ie under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that in a ten month period over 100 complaints were made to Met Éireann.

One complaint was made to the national forecaster by a general practitioner on behalf of his patients. In a letter sent last December, the doctor said he treated a number of elderly patients in his practice.

He said a number of them had made “observations” about how the weather was being reported.

The metric system 

“A large number of my elderly patients have had difficulty understanding the nature of the warnings given in the metric measurement. I have also checked with a number of my colleagues around the county and country and they too have noted that elderly patients particularly those aged 50-55 years [sic] are having difficulty understanding the metric measurement.”


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Since the early 1980s the European Commission has waged a campaign to standardise units of measurement in the EU around the metric system.

The doctor pointed out that forecasts mention the rain in millimetres and kilometres for wind.

“It is my opinion and that of many of my GP colleagues that the elderly community have difficulty understanding the metric system,” he wrote.

I wonder would it be possible for Met Éireann to detail their broadcasts both in metric and imperial measurements as at present the metric system is causing confusion.

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He told Met Éireann that elderly people sometimes couldn’t understand the nature of rain warnings and the speed of winds.

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