GP Magazine 3 March 2014
‘It is always the best policy to speak the truth,’ said Jerome K Jerome, who then added an important qualification – ‘Unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.’
So we all owe a debt of gratitude to leading surgeon Professor J Meirion Thomas; his unpalatable truth is that ‘the gender imbalance is already having a negative effect on the NHS’. Most female doctors, he explained, end up working part-time – usually in general practice. They tend to avoid the more demanding specialties, which require greater commitment, and look for a better work/life balance. Doctors also tend to marry within their own socio-economic group and, he observes, in many cases, the wife is the secondary earner, which further encourages less demanding part-time work. Not only lazy bitches, you see, but lazy and snobby bitches as well.
The professor also pointed out that as: ‘GPs tend to work in small group practices, there is a danger these can become backwaters, isolated from the nourishing influences of hospital medicine.’ The obvious solution, which he probably omitted for brevity, is for everybody to live close to a hospital. General practice, he concluded, is organised for the convenience of doctors – particularly female GPs – not their patients.
As you might expect, there was fierce condemnation of the professor’s remarks from the usual suspects, all aflame with righteous outrage; we can’t handle the truth. In reality, the professor’s honesty didn’t go far enough. I can reveal that there are also men working in the NHS. Let’s be honest, men are pigs; I’m one, so I should know. Shallow, venal creatures, exhibiting all the vices, except perhaps greed, which requires a bit of energy.
How the NHS continues to function with such a large percentage of men and women in the workforce is a mystery. The truth is, you can get a lot done when you don’t have, you know, a life.
Farrell, Dr Liam. Are You the F**king Doctor?: Tales from the bleeding edge of medicine . Kindle Edition.