In keeping with my continuing monitoring of the British Health Service, I wanted to note a few updates. I consider this somewhat important since the show is about the medical practice of a British GP and they constantly claim they are required to be accurate (and I have many doubts about that).
For one thing, I have recently watched a few episodes of the British series called Dr. Foster. As the title indicates, a medical doctor is its main protagonist, and she’s a GP in a small town north of London called Parminster, but is really Hitchin in Hertfordshire. Within the first 3 episodes Dr. Foster makes so many unethical and problematic medical decisions that any claim to accuracy is utterly unsubstantiated. (I have also seen a medical show called Holby City while in UK and it was also totally ridiculous in terms of the medical procedures. If you look up this show it will be identified as a British medical drama as well as a soap.) These shows are no different in terms of medical accuracy than many in the US.
Nevertheless, I find it interesting to learn what’s going on in the medical profession and medical care arenas in UK. To a great extent, these days the NHS is suffering for many reasons, not the least of which is the Brexit dilemma.
An article recently discussed the changing circumstances of British medicine. Some viewers of DM have speculated that ME might want to hire a nurse or assistant of some kind. The information in this article makes the prospect of that less likely, if we are expecting them to be accurate. It seems that a large number of immigrant nurses and other medical professionals are leaving the UK due to the rocky situation. The crisis could also mean that finding a replacement for Martin Ellingham would be difficult (in the real world, that is). (BTW, for one of the first times in the 8 series, S8 actually included two adults of non-white heritage: John Rahmanzai, whose father had a love affair with Ruth many years earlier; and Dr. Ray Howell, the member of the committee holding the hearing about ME’s ability to continue as a GP.)
You might also find it worth knowing that the British have an obesity problem too. The effort ME makes on occasion to recommend better diet and exercise is perhaps a warning to all viewers wherever they are. On this subject, there was an article about how the British need to be more interested in exercise. The brief time that Clive decides to start running to improve his health is one way the show alludes to this, although ironically Clive ends up dying perhaps due to the strain caused by the running. When I reflect on the few times when exercise has been included in the show, it seems to often be accompanied by worrisome side effects. For example, in S7E1 Steve Baker tries to get into shape for his boating commemoration and ends up blacking out at a most unfortunate moment.
And, for an odd piece of information, this article appeared recently in the Washington Post and brought to mind the two older women in S6 E4 who had decided to give themselves a tattoo that reads “Do Not Resuscitate.” Apparently that is a thing! Who Knew? Not only have people had tattoos of this kind placed on their chests, but it’s happening in both the UK and the US, or at least the show has suggested its use. In another twist of irony, having this tattoo can actually create more controversy than it settles.
At any rate, the practice of medicine in UK is not really much different from ours in US except that the citizens are all covered, probably a relief to many in Portwenn and a possible reason why the waiting room is often so full.