06 June 2010

Sick Notes by Tony Copperfield

Dr Grumble is easily flattered into things. A few months ago he received a personal letter from an important personage at one of the Royal Colleges. It began:

Thank you again for delivering one of the very funniest and most incisive bar none talks I have ever had the privilege of hearing.....

Dr Grumble has written many letters like this. He knew as he read it what the next sentence was going to be. It would contain a request to give another lecture. And sure enough it did. People are so full of themselves that recipients of letters like this fall for the flattery every time. Dr Grumble is no exception. Before he had had time to register that nobody can possibly give a lecture quite that fantastic he had sent a reply saying how happy he would be to grace a national meeting with his presence.

Sometimes Grumble even allows himself to be flattered when no flattery is intended. So when Sam from monday books got in touch offering him a copy of Sick Notes by no less a writer than Tony Copperfield, Dr Grumble immediately thought that he had been singled out for this special favour as a top medical blogger. But such is the power of Google that it is quite easy to find out that quite a few, perhaps all, the medical bloggers have been offered a copy, many of them long before Grumble himself. There are few secrets on the world wide web.

Flattered or not, Dr Grumble was not going to agree to review the book. Oh no. A contract is too much pressure for poor old Grumble. Sam was to send the book for free and would have to take his chance. Dr Grumble does not have much time for reading books and he is rather a slow reader.

Copperfield, as you may well know, is a GP. Well sort of. He is actually two GPs. So Grumble was a little surprised when he saw the front cover of the book. They say you should never judge a book by its cover but that chap on the front dresses like a consultant and not an ordinary jobbing doctor. Actually not even Dr Grumble dresses like that any more because the infection control witches nurses insist he goes around in an open-necked short-sleeved shirt. And that pale blue stethoscope is definitely of the toy box variety. Book covers are strange things. Publishers with their eyes on sales want an image to convey whatever it is that will trigger a punter into making a purchase. Clearly the way of conveying an image of a proper doctor to the public is still with a pinstripe suit. Dr Grumble's Harley Street colleagues would agree.

Anyway Dr Grumble started the book at the beginning of the weekend and he has already finished it. Now that must say something. By page 5 Grumble felt that if he was a publisher this was a book he would take on. It was not long before young James Grumble was asking why old Grumble kept cackling. It is, you see, a laugh-out-loud book.

You might think the world of general practice is rather different from the world of the hospital consultant. But there is a lot we have in common. The vagaries of Choose and Book play havoc whichever side of the great divide you work on. And we have the very same troubles trying to find ways to work around the frightful admindroids that plague today's NHS. As for trying to impress management by trotting out the buzz words that miraculously make them putty in your hands, we do that in the hospitals too. It's laughable that it works but work it does. And we too struggle trying to find the right form for the job. The Copperfield solution for this problem, by the way, is simply brilliant. But for that you will have to buy the book.

Thank you, Sam. It was a good read. Anybody who reads Dr Grumble and has got to the end of this post should enjoy Sick Notes. You can download an extract here.


Jobbing Doctor said...

Indeed, a number of us have been asked to review the book.

I was inspired to blog by "Tony Copperfield" who (after NHS Blog Doctor - now retired) have given me much pleasure in the darkest hours of New Labour.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Can I interact with the writer ....... no? then I'm not really that interested.

I blame Dr Crippen for this minor addiction (oh, I do miss Dr Crippen).

I'm sure it's a fine book but I've almost stopped reading since I started blogging - blogging is just so much more fun?

Prisoner of Hope said...

Claim your introductory fee! I have not come across the pseudonymous Dr Copperfield before but - based on your posting and helpful links - enjoyed the sample sufficiently to order a copy.

Dr Grumble said...

I was given another book last week, a&e charge nurse, by the author, a very distinguished Cambridge professor. The full text is available on line. I asked him if that had increased or decreased sales. His view was that it had benefited sales. Interestingly though, last night we had friends round and one of them has given up books as she prefers that Kindle thing. In fact she said it had some advantages over the printed page. For example, it remembers what page you reached. And, of course, you can carry a whole library with you. I haven't even played with one of these things but it does seem that they are now quite user friendly and compare favourably with paper.

Doctor Zorro said...

Yes, they asked me too. Will get around to it eventually.

john gibson said...

This is good news, I've read a few of the Monday book offerings and the more the better.
John Gibson

Dr Grumble said...

I thought, John, that you might be too busy writing books to have time to read them. I have the third edition of a tome you have written right next to me now. It is not often these days that you find a single author book with 27 highly technical chapters. It's a beautiful book and I wish I could find time to read it from cover to cover.

News from Monday Books said...

Thanks for the review Doc Grumble - much appreciated!

Eileen said...

Having read the extract I can only hope that it is to be provided as compulsory reading for all members of the new Health Ministry in the hope that at least some of them will see, if nothing else, that it is a lucid description of the hoops that we, the public, have to jump through to get to see a consultant, any consultant, nowadays and just how much time and money is wasted by us seeing the wrong consultant because that wonder, the referral letter to the named consultant who was best for the job, is no longer accepted. I and my GP have sat and sworn at the computer on many an occasion.
2009 didn't start well for me and I saw 3 different consultants, all equally useless for the purpose, before the GPs said sod it, we'll do it ourselves without the blessing of an expert. Result: I'm mobile and pretty much pain-free. I only need to go to the practice for the odd check-up and repeat prescriptions - instead of a few visits a month as it was before diagnosis, I hate to say it, but thanks to the internet. They have to be saving money on me.

Sam said...

Hi Dr G,

This comment is unrelated to this post. It's for The Witch Doctor re how to get rid of the red borders around 'all' her pictures. I am not familiar with wordpress but am assuming the same template HTML basics as Blogspot.

Go to your template ---> Edit HTML --- Expand widget Templates(If not fully expanded already)

Then scroll down until you come to:
Post img

Then cut away the line that says:
border:1px solid $bordercolor;

preview before you save. If an error message appears, then paste that same line back into the same place, save ... and no harm done, but this should remove that border.

Alternatively, if that line has a colour value (usually 6 digits made out of letters and numbers or either on their own) then change to FFFFFF, the HTML code for white, preview before you save. Again, in case of a problem, just simply insert the old colour code back again then save.

(incidently, the line to be cut above does not have a colour 6 digit value because this is grouped under 'fonts and colours in Blogspot, and so, if this is the same in Wordpress, then you can simply go to that and change image border to white)

That should make the image border white like your main template body

Good luck Witchdoc!


Prisoner of Hope said...

Now I've read the book I have to say:3 cheers for Dr Copperfield as he sticks 2 fingers up to the Political Interference of the last 20 years. Not only 1 hell of a read but also a very timely General Practice equivalent of Up The Organisation! It deserves to be a valuable source document for future social historians.