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
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.