I can remember a time when a doctor was a respected figure in the community. You would phone for an appointment at your convenience. You would arrive at the allotted time, and be ushered into the surgery. A man (mostly a man!) with dignity and gravitas who would listen to your complaints solemnly for as long as it took, ask some questions and then make a diagnosis. Under the rarest of circumstances, he would send you off for a mysterious “blood test” or an “X-ray”. You would then be summoned for the results and he would tell you what was wrong with you and how to fix it. If you were very unwell, he would come to your home, prod, poke and prognosticate and all would be well.
Unfortunately, as time has moved on, so has the “profession”. Now, you phone and are told that there are no appointments for the next two days and you must try again tomorrow. After repeated attempts to make a booking, you are eventually allocated your ten minute slot.
(And if I may divert for a moment, why is it that when you get there, you always have to wait? Even when I get the first appointment of the day, I have to wait at least twenty minutes. Because when I do get in there, I almost invariably see the doctor for three or four minutes before he (or she!) starts hustling me out of the room. How the hell does that work, then?)
The doctor asks you what is wrong with you, and if you can’t give him a complete diagnosis and a recommended prescription, he (or she!) will look at you blankly and either tell you that “there’s something going round, try drinking lots of water and get some rest” or they will send you for a random bunch of tests, which will, more often than not, include a severely unpleasant invasion of your “personal spaces”, along with the drawing of half a gallon of blood due to the sheer number of tests needed.
By the time the tests have all been analysed (by other “specialists”) either your body has mended itself or you have died. If neither of these happy circumstances has occurred, you are then sent to see a specialist, who is usually based at the local hospital. Here you will be mugged at London rates for parking and spend hours reading old copies of “Hello” magazine in a noisy, ugly and filthy “waiting room” (oh, how aptly-named it is!) for another doctor to see you for three minutes and then hustle you out of the room. If you are fortunate, you will be spared the delights of an MSRA or C. Difficile infection.
It seems to me that we are increasingly not being treated by doctors, nor are we being “treated” with courtesy or respect.
And yet, alongside the decrease in doctors providing in a seemly and dignified manner the very service we pay them so generously for and nurses becoming “too posh to wash”, the medical “profession” have become increasingly self-important, issuing Medical Bulls with Papal solemnity, decreeing that we should no longer smoke, nor eat what we wish, nor should we drink beyond the limits they decree. This all goes beyond the advice of a caring professional doctor issuing individual guidance to a patient seeking assistance and has become an increasingly strident set of rules for us all to live by. And like rock stars, there is no limit to the extent of their knowledge, as they have started weighing in about “climate change”:
The Climate and Health Council, a collaboration of worldwide health organisations including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, believes there is a direct link between climate change and better health.
Their controversial plan would see GPs and nurses give out advice to their patients on how to lower their carbon footprint.
I must admit that I am, at best, ambivalent about this. Given the current furore about the integrity of certain key proponents of this theory (and that really is all that it is, a theory) I have to wonder whether it is the best possible use of scarce NHS resources for already stressed and overworked doctors and nurses to be dishing out advice like “switch your lights off” and “recycle”. At worst, I might be tempted to make pointed comments about cobblers sticking to their lasts, or people removing the beam from their own eye before commenting on the mote in their brother’s eye.
If severely provoked, I could also point at 12 major hospitals identified as having significant performance issues, or 27 hospitals that have extraordinary death rates and ask why he (or she!) is not more concerned with the abject failure of his (or her!) own profession than with a curious theory that has never had any substantial proof to underpin it.
It may well be that “medical professionals” miss the days of yore when they were respected members of the community. I can only say to you that the respect you have lost over the years can easily be earned by just doing your bloody job properly – we already have a Pope who can pontificate well enough. We don’t need you to add to the clamour.