Not just a theory?

Ben Hoban is a GP in Exeter




++++++Transcript begins++++++

Newshound: Thanks for agreeing to see me, doctor…
Subject: John, it’s just John these days. I appreciate your making the trip. Did anyone try to stop you?
Newshound: No, I don’t think so, not unless you count the sheep in the lane.
Subject: Are you being funny? I thought you were serious about doing this interview.
Newshound: Hey, no offence, doc, it’s just a little out of the way, you know?
Subject: Sure, sorry, I’m a bit jumpy with everything that’s happened. Do you want to make a start?
Newshound: That would be great. I’m a bit slower with the old pen and paper, but you said no tech.
Subject: Thanks. Everyone laughs when you start talking about conspiracies, but they happen all the time: I’ll get my mate to approve your extension if you can sort out my tax problem. Lovely yacht, chief, I’ll have a word with the minister about fast-tracking your drug, just make sure those trial data don’t get into the official record…
Newshound: You’re talking about what you refer to as the medical-pharmaceutical-academic-fundraising complex now. Not exactly catchy, is it?
Subject: Course not, too many players, blooming circus. The military-industrial complex was a joke by comparison. How much money gets spent on the military these days, and how much on health? During the Cold War, everyone was scared of the Russians, now it’s disease. They use our fear to control us, to distract us from the real issues and make money on the side.
Newshound: The real issues?
Subject: Social determinants of health, mate: if you want to be healthy, don’t bother about your Bupa cover, just make sure you grow up in the right part of town with a full complement of parents, get a decent education, proper job, nice house, pension. That’s the stuff that needs looking at. We’re living longer than ever, we’re healthier than ever, and all you ever hear is that we’re going to Hell in a handbag because you can’t get an appointment with your GP and the hospitals are full.
Newshound: Don’t you think the NHS is in crisis then?
Subject: If you get hammered and wrap your Mondeo around a tree, then sure, you’ve got a crisis, but you can hardly blame the car.
Newshound: You’re saying you think the Health Service has been mismanaged?
Subject: Mismanaged my foot. They know what they’re doing. First you tell everyone they’re in danger from something really nasty. Next, when people are good and worried, you make it harder for them to see a doctor and put pictures on the news of patients on trollies in hospital corridors and nurses on strike until they start demanding better services, and then you can reluctantly push up taxes to pay for it all. Supply and demand, right?
Newshound: Isn’t that a bit cynical?
Subject: How else do you explain wage stagnation, capping medical school places and micromanaging primary care? Nobody sane would think any of that stuff would actually help. Whoever thought of charging hospital staff for parking was a genius!
Newshound: So what’s the answer then?
Subject: Stop trying to frighten everyone and let them get on with life. Bottom line: we all die eventually, so don’t worry about it, make the most of your life and try to leave the world a better place for your kids when you’re done. If you’re sick, go and see a doctor, but don’t make yourself sick taking pills and getting scanned every five minutes because there’s a small chance you’ve got something serious, or might have ten years down the line. Treat people like adults and they’ll start looking after themselves better too.
Newshound: And if people don’t listen?
Subject: Direct action. Start with the academics, then Big Pharma. Sabotage the scanners. Once people see they don’t need it all, they’ll feel much better.
Newshound: That’s fighting talk. I take it the establishment doesn’t approve.
Subject: That’s how I ended up out here, off the grid: no one wants a doctor who tells patients they’re okay and stands up to the system. I got tired of checking my home for bugs and my car for bombs. One day people will get it, and I’ll be ready.
Newshound: Great stuff, John, gotta shoot now but I’ve got what I need. I’ll send you a copy of the interview before it goes to press.
Subject: Thanks, I just want to help make things better.

Newshound: War-dog, this is Newshound, over.
War-dog: Go ahead, Newshound, over.
Newshound: War-dog, subject is confirmed, you are cleared to engage, over.
War-dog: Wilco, over.
Newshound: Roger, out.

++++++Transcript ends+++++++


Featured photo by ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND on Unsplash

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