by Adam Kay
A trip through the modern NHS in easy and accessible anecdotes.
On the surface of it this is an engaging and often hilarious collection of anecdotes from someone who worked as a doctor in the NHS for several years. There is an abundance of stories for those who love to hear about the quirks and peculiarities of humanity. Dark and funny things that will make you laugh out loud whilst simultaneously making your toes curl. The de-gloved penis. The dehydrated cocaine users. The homeless man who preferred to go back out on the streets rather than run the risk of MRSA.
Referring to the diaries he was obliged to keep during his years as an obstetrician, Kay has pulled together a raft of stories and thoughts ranging from simple one line ‘notes-to-self’ to more lengthy tales of patients he cared for.
The happy, the funny and the occasional simply uplifting make for an easy and read that clips along nicely. I had this in audio book form and it was a little over six hours long. It is easy to pick up, slightly less easy to put down.
You may also have seen this book referred to as ‘heart-breaking’.
And it is. Because in writing a highly entertaining memoir Kay has found the perfect vehicle to deliver some brutal truths about the state of our NHS these days. To highlight the lies being peddled by the Secretary of State for Health and the government.
This is not a treatise on the issues facing the National Health Service and the people who work there-in delivering health care, there is no lengthy analysis – he simply punctuates the usually funny, sometimes tragic stories with brutal realities he has experienced first-hand:
Being told that he would have to come back for a weekend halfway through a two-week holiday abroad because the cover he had had to arrange himself fell through;
Falling asleep in his car in the hospital car park before he even managed to start it and waking up the next morning only to find he’d slept so long he was still late for work. On Christmas Eve;
Working out that with the unpaid overtime he was expected to put in his actual wage was £6.60ph – less than if he’d worked in McDonalds.
This is far more important book than it is really given credit for. I would recommend this book for everyone who loves stories about the peculiarities of people, and it’s a must read for all those who love the NHS. It should also be mandatory reading for anyone who has ever nodded their head when Jeremy Hunt’s lips have been flapping.