It could have been the lack of coffee, but the air was not exactly buzzing at the launch of the first regional Darzi report.

NHS East of England “stakeholders”, forced to abandon Monday’s Mediterranean sunshine, trickled slowly into the gloomy conference centre in Hinxton, near Cambridge. But they soon perked up after spying the Who Wants to be a Millionaire-style voting pads.

After a couple of introductory talks, participants were asked to key in their three favoured options for each of the eight clinical pathways under discussion. They did so with gusto, giggling at the Countdown soundalike music thundering out of the speakers. A market researcher recorded the results, then it was time for Lord Darzi to take to the stage.

The junior health minister embarked on a long series of thank-yous worthy of the Oscars. He then praised the East of England “vision”, his tributes becoming more lavish with every sentence. The report was “tremendous,” he said. It showed “talent” and “determination”. Indeed, it was “as ambitious as Bevan’s vision 60 years ago”.

Polite applause accompanied Lord Darzi’s exit from the stage before NHS East of England chief executive Neil McKay quickly rounded off proceedings by announcing it was time for lunch.

*080515/darzi report audience

Stakeholders chose three options from eight clinical pathways to be discussed.