- ‘I’d prescribe this book to anyone and everyone. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreakingly sad and gives you the lowdown on what it’s like to be holding it together while serving on the front line of our beloved but beleaguered NHS. It’s wonderful.’
→ Jonathan Ross
- ‘So clinically funny and politically important for supporters of the NHS that it should be given out on prescription.’
- ‘Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble and entirely loveable.’
→ Stephen Fry
- ‘You will laugh, cry and be overwhelmed with gratitude for the medical profession who work so shockingly hard to patch us up and prolong our lives.’
→ Daily Express
- ‘Finally a true picture of the harrowing, hilarious and ultimately chaotic life of the junior doctor in all its gory glory, dark comedy and unavoidable sadness. A blisteringly funny account shot through with harrowing detail, many pertinent truths and the humanity we all hope doctors conceal behind their unflappable exteriors.’
→ Jo Brand
- ‘As hilarious as it is heartbreaking — and it IS heartbreaking (also hilarious)’
→ Charlie Brooker
- ‘Blisteringly funny, politically enraging and often heartbreaking . . . hilarious . . . brimming not just with humour but with humanity . . . This should be a wake-up call to all who value the NHS’
→ Hannah Beckerman, Sunday Express
- ‘A funny, excoriatingly revealing, beautiful book’
→ Dawn French
- ‘The humour is unflinching in its darkness . . . Yet I did laugh. A lot. Kay is a skilful, muscular writer, his narrative swinging from laugh-out-loud anecdotes to tales of sheer horror. The book’s title is harrowingly apt . . . In the end, this book is a call to arms. That the NHS lost Kay is a tragedy. That this diary was written well before the Government’s battle with junior doctors is more disturbing still’
- ‘Hilarious and heartbreaking . . . I howled, yelped and occasionally choked with laughter . . . It’s an invigorating addition to the vogue for medical memoirs. I like to think of it sitting on a shelf next to Henry Marsh, Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, turning the air bluer and bluer. It has something of all those writers, but with an added dash of a profane Adrian Mole . . . This book may hurt, but in an important and necessary way’
→ Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
Negative Amazon Customer Reviews
- I bought this book (Kindle edition) because of Kindle pop up adds which held snatches of rave reviews from people I have actually heard of. The reviews assured me it was laugh out loud funny and after my last disappointing and somewhat heavy read it was just what the doctor ordered (you see what I did there). Only I did not find it funny at all. I found it cynical, occasionally bordering on misogynist in his horrible descriptions of women and their bodily parts when they are at their most vulnerable (gynae detail in the book but perhaps not for a review but describing a woman’s vagina as a 'tw*t' is one such example). I think possibly the author was going for wry and dry humour but to me it came across as toxic and unpleasantly brutal at times. The books was repetitive and the initial faintly amusing anecdotes paled after a relatively short number of pages. I did however read it all and in the interests of full disclosure laughed out loud once. Just the once when he was describing two unfortunate names given to new babies but that was it. The book is not without merit - it does describe working conditions for junior doctors in such a way as to be a call to arms for those of us keen to protect our NHS - as indeed the author is and his stories are compelling: the NHS is at risk, worth saving and possibly even dangerous for patients in running on a threadbare empty purse. I hope the book at least draws attention to that aspect of the authors writing but laugh out loud funny it is not.
- I didn’t like this book. I’d say that right from the start Adam clearly wasn’t cut out for doctoring. He didn’t seem to enjoy his job from the start. It was moan, moan, moan. Not well enough paid, no time off, working until the job he has started was finished etc. He should have done more research before he went to medical school. I completely understand about black humour in times of stress and it is a stressful job but all of what he lists as ‘anecdotes’ were human beings and even if they did some weird things and weren’t too bright - they still didn’t deserve to be the butt if his jokes and used to earn him a penny or two when he gave up doctoring. I’m not even sure that he liked his patients and I think it’s probably just as well he has left the profession. I finished the book but I wouldn’t recommend it and I’m not sure how it gets all the good reviews - well I am, he no doubt has a very good agent and publicity machine.
Positive Amazon Customer Review
- Working on the wards as an auxiliary all through Uni as well as a being a Student Nurse, and then qualifying as a Staff Nurse I have a complete understanding for not just the funny stories, but sadly the down sides of what our junior doctors have to endure.
- I have been the impatient Nurse paging an already overstretched junior doctor to come and review a patient, prescribe more pain relief or fluids, check Gent or Vanc levels or write a discharge letter (as the patient is standing in front of me dressed, holding their packed belongings with their angry relative who has come to collect them...because the Consultant told them 7 hours ago on the ward round they could go home after dinner).
- I have taken junior doctors a cup of tea, a biscuit and a “patients sandwich” from the ward fridge because it’s 6pm and they haven’t eaten or drank anything since before their shift started 9 hours ago.
- I have been there on a ward round when they have been belittled by a Consultant in front of their colleagues and the patient for not ordering a test the day before, or because they didn’t give an answer to a seemingly straightforward question and have been met with raised eyebrows and “did you graduate from medical school Dr?” from said Consultant.
- I have also been the nurse on Nightshift when things have been the “Q” word, turning a blind eye as a junior doctor sneaks into the Day unit next door for some shut eye because they are exhausted on their 5th night. Or sitting at the Nurses Station swapping comical stories about patients, because sometimes you need that shared humour to get you through to the end of your shift.
- I left the wards for a less stressful stint in Occupational Health after 6 years of working rotational shifts, which I appreciate on the grand scale of things is not that long at all. However, for my own sanity I felt I had no choice. I was burnt out, stressed, irritable, permanently exhausted through crazy shift patterns (3 nights, a sleep day then a day shift, off for two then back in for 3 days?) sick of constantly being short staffed, being left unsupported (especially on nights) and having to make decisions above my pay grade then being chastised for it in the morning by Sister, missing countless social and family gatherings because of “being on shift”, my husband and I were on the road to starting IVF treatment after unsuccessfully trying for a baby for nearly 3 years....the list goes on.
- The NHS relies on the goodwill of its staff working past their time, (usually writing up notes or Incident forms that you haven’t had time to do during your shift), or swapping their shift due to staff shortages at the last minute, relies on them building their own support network instead of giving them the right support to deal with traumatic events that are all too common in the job (but no amount of training will ever prepare you for), working through their breaks “because the ward is too busy”....etc, etc
- The pressures of the job are increased ten-fold by the pressures of management, audits, paperwork (sometimes it’s like paperwork for the sake of paperwork) which is generated by our unrealistic government. And also not forgetting the negative attention the media places on the situation giving some patients/relatives the idea that you’re fair game in questioning your abilities and informing you the papers said this or that so it must be true...it’s sad to think that this wonderful system that was once the envy of the world has been brought to its knees, leading valuable and extremely competent staff to leave the profession in their droves.
In-Page Footnotes ("Kay (Adam) - This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor")
- Since these reviews are all positive – as are the vast majority of Customer Reviews on Amazon – but are from the usual selection of luvvies on the comedy circuit – I’ve appended a couple of negative Amazon Customer Reviews.
- I also added a positive review for balance.
- I found the negative review on "Shepherd (Richard) - Unnatural Causes" rather spiteful and unjustified, but I feel inclined to be sympathetic to the negative reviews here; I’ll review the comments once I’ve read the book.
Picador (19 April 2018)
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)