18 February 2011

The Virgin delivery

Lest anybody was wondering Dr Grumble's prize of splendid Virgin wine has arrived. So thanks once again to Clinic Compare and all the readers who took the trouble to vote for Dr Grumble.

Dr Grumble has never actually drunk Virgin wine before and it set him wondering about the Virgin empire and the man in charge, Richard Branson. Sir Richard has had the odd mention before on the Grumble blog. He is somebody you need to keep an eye on when it comes to the future of healthcare.

The older you get the smaller the world seems to be. Amazing as it may seem, Dr Grumble has actually met Sir Richard. The first time was some decades ago when Sir Richard threw a party for a mutual friend and Grumble, being well connected, got invited. The whole Branson family was there. Dr Grumble sat next to Sir Richard's father. Holly Branson spent the whole evening running about along with her brother, Sam. She was something of a tomboy then. That's how long ago it was. Dr Grumble chatted to Richard's father on what attributes you need to become a multimillionaire. He never did quite find out.

Sir Richard comes over as a nice guy. One of Dr Grumble's readers warned him against being taken in by this. Her message was that you cannot be as successful as Sir Richard without being tough, perhaps even cut-throat. But you have to be tough to survive as a doctor too.

A little incident made Dr Grumble think that maybe Sir Richard is actually quite a good egg. Dr Grumble was on his way back from a meeting in Cannes and in Nice airport stopped off at a rather dismal restaurant where he sat down to eat a rather unappetizing sandwich. To Grumble's surprise, Sir Richard then came in and sat at the very next table and began eating an equally unappetizing sandwich out of the wrapper. Even the extremely wealthy have to rough it sometimes and, as all doctors know, they even have to go to the loo like the rest of us. Dr Grumble immediately recognised Sir Richard but he did not think it was appropriate to introduce himself. Then a rather glamorous black girl came in. She spotted Sir Richard, went up to him and asked if she could have her photograph taken with him. He was fine about it. He happily abandoned his sandwich and had the black girl sit on his knee while her boyfriend snapped away. It was a nice thing to have done. On that rather limited evidence, Grumble thinks that Sir Richard is probably OK.


Witchdoctor said...

Linking to a naked woman, and a delivery of a crate of virgins!

Whatever next, Dr G?

Should My Black Cat be reading your blog?

Dr Grumble said...

I am sure she has some clothes, WD, it is just that you can't see them.

There are things that worry me more than the nakedness but having had cosmetic surgery myself I am not in a position to criticise.


Anonymouse said...

Didn't I recommend you didn't drink it all in one go Dr G?!

Now, not only is Sir a nice guy, but you put a free ad for his business on your site too!

Dear me, what is the world coming to?!

Pssst! I met him once too, and he is a very nice, and modest, guy. Charming too :-)

Dr Grumble said...

When you see what Dr Grumble happily does for a free meal or a crate of wine it does make you realise what a health secretary might do in response to, say, a £21,000 donation. The only solution is to turn down all such offers.

The problem is that in recent years Dr Grumble's education has been quite heavily dependent on pharmaceutical company support. If Dr Grumble wants an educational meeting he is organising sponsored he might make sure that the right drugs are in the titles of the talks before he asks for support. There is actually no realistic alternative. Either we go to a company for support or we don't educate all those doctors that come to the meeting.

If a pharmaceutical company has paid for your meeting it is unlikely that you will stand up at that meeting and criticise their drug so funds can buy silence. When silence is bought you can't see it.

Declaring what support you have received (as Dr Grumble has done here) does not really solve the problem. You will, for example, never know what Dr Grumble might have said about the wisdom or otherwise of all those people going for cosmetic surgery.

Actually Dr Grumble did consider this issue but, being a recipient of cosmetic surgery himself, this is probably not a battle he is ever going to fight. Dr Grumble has admitted very sick young women following serious complications of cosmetic surgery carried out abroad so he does have concerns.

Sam said...

"for example, never know what Dr Grumble might have said about the wisdom or otherwise of all those people going for cosmetic surgery."

Well, you gave a glimpse of what you thing about cosmetic surgery before Dr G. It was about older American women's looks following multiple surgery. I happen to entirally agree with you, but then again, if it makes them feel better about themselves, who are we to argue? And you never know, maybe if a 'reason' comes up, if I myself may change my mind in future!

As for those little gifts to doctors, there is, IMO, no harm. It is a little human communication perk so it is not a bad thing. I'd even go as far as to say it is mentally beneficial too providing it doesn't change a doc's set of values. I don't see this ever happening here :-)

Betty M said...

Back in the early days of Virgin Atlantic I was stuck in Newark due to a combination of problems on the plane and weather issues. They sent out a new plane from London with Sir Richard on board and he came round the waiting room to apologise to us all. He would have got endless publicity from all of us as I certainly told the tale a number of times. He wouldn't bother now of course.

A friend of mine works for him and speaks highly of him - but I expect the occasional free trips to Necker Island help somewhat. I'd be afraid of what he wants to do with healthcare.