Strengths: So funny!
Weaknesses: Nick gets a little grumpy at times, particularly in relation to the NHS
Why I read it: I’m a sucker for these kinds of books
Pages: 310 (ebook)
Publisher: The Friday Project / Harper Collins
Setting: English hospital
Rating: 9 out of 10
I really enjoy the sort of books that take a real-life, blood-guts-warts-n-all look at the health system (as well as anything in the Babylon series). I found this book when looking at the ‘other people who viewed these items’ section on a website. (In case you’re interested, I was looking at Max Pemberton’s fantastic books on life as a junior doctor).
So as you’ve already deduced, this book is a reality check on hospitals, medicine and the National Health Service in the UK. The author, Dr Nick Edwards (not his real name), started writing after his wife got sick of him whinging about his life as an accident and emergency (A &E) doctor. This book is compiled of his rants, raves and stories – some hilarious, some terrifically sad.
If you’re not familiar with some of the idiosyncrasies of the NHS, don’t worry. Edwards explains the bureaucracy in simple terms and the issues the doctors ‘on the floor’ have with things that are familiar to Australian audiences too, such as the ‘four hour rule’. (Simply put, this means everyone who comes into an emergency department must be in a ward or discharged within four hours. However, this doesn’t take into account delays with imaging, waiting for test results, review by doctors who have been up for 24 hours and need sleep etc. Edwards explores some of the more ‘creative’ ways this rule is circumvented). Occasionally Edwards’ lamenting about the poor state of the NHS does get tedious, but he always follows up with an entertaining anecdote regarding people who accidently ‘sit’ on carrots that are vertical or trip and fall into a pineapple.
There are also sad stories – unexpected deaths due to trauma and elderly with nobody to care for them. Drunkenness and patients under the influence are also explored, as are many minor illnesses – some that the average person wouldn’t dream of going to the emergency department for!
This is a light read that takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions. Plus, next time you’ll understand the true dangers of fruit and vegetables!