Anybody currently residing here in the UK will be perfectly aware of the current situation of our own National Health Service (NHS). Despite the fact that it’s here for each and every one of us when we need it most — unexpected surgery or receiving antibiotics after being bit by the neighbour’s dog — it’s no secret that the NHS is in crisis, and has been for a long time.
After spending six years in medical school and a further six in practice, Adam Kay has put together This Is Going to Hurt, a series of diary extracts from his time being a junior doctor from 2005 to 2010. Based at a hospital in central London, Kay has reflected on his time spent working for the NHS in an amazingly humorous yet shocking manner, by going public with the NHS amid the war between health secretary Jeremy Hunt and underpaid/overworked doctors and nurses.
Now working as a writer and a comedian, Adam Kay’s new career is imminent in the structuring of his book. For a topic as serious and — more than often — heartbreaking as hospital life, Kay manages to unveil the humorous side to working over eighty hours a week, all while getting around three hours of sleep a day and maintaining absolutely no social life whatsoever.
His dry and ever so sarcastic sense of humour eases readers into some of the more gruesome and, quite frankly, horrific incidents that Kay dealt with during his time as a junior doctor. One incident that is high on the “horrific” scale that of a young man dancing on the roof of a bus stop who, while treating a lamp post as a fireman’s pole, degloved himself, and his manhood, in the process. All I can say is, there is little to be left to the imagination.
Each diary entry not only tells a hilariously frank story, but also outlines the daily responsibilities of NHS staff members, ranging from ward nurses to surgeons, with the occasional bitter mention of the infamous Jeremy Hunt.
Medical terminology is used strongly, but Kay has cleverly thought to thoroughly explain each word and make it accessible to readers. For instance, a “second-degree tear” was explained thusly
“Having a baby can rip your undercarriage to shreds, there’s no getting away from it, especially if you’re a first-time mum. Durex should take their cue from cigarette manufacturers and show photos of postpartum perineums on their packaging – no woman could look at that and ever risk getting pregnant.”
Alongside the conventional and fantastically hilarious tone that the book has taken, Kay has done a wonderful and touching job of raising awareness of working in such a demanding and devastating environment. Being on hand to watch many suffer and lose loved ones, and witness tragedies in the maternity ward, the life of a junior doctor certainly isn’t as placid and upbeat as Kay’s attitude is to this day.
With the NHS still being in crisis today, their need of staff is as imminent as it was back in 2005. These people are grossly underpaid and worked to the brink of exhaustion; as Kay reminisces falling asleep behind the wheel whilst waiting in a queue at traffic lights on the way to his last minute shift.
This Is Going To Hurt serves as recognition to the people who save lives for a living, and is the perfect tribute to those who work so hard to keep us alive.