Liam Farrell: Where did it all go wrong for a former top doc?

'The 50 top docs' trumpeted the headline in last week's Times; 'The 50 biggest tits' trumpeted the tabloid on the shelf beside it. Must not get them mixed up, I thought, so I bought both.

I was alarmed that the bloodhounds might have had tracked me down at last (for being a top doc, you understand, not the other things). All these years I've been keeping a low profile in the Irish backwoods, but I guess it couldn't last. Goodbye to the pleasures of the quiet life, I thought.

So I was delighted to find that I was not on the list, but less pleased to note that none of the top 50 were from Northern Ireland (I'm still talking about top docs, I emphasise, not the other things).

The anti-Irish bias is obviously what preserved my anonymity, so much for your multi-cultural society, I obviously lose out because I don't have a snobby accent nor a weak chin.

BMJ blogger and colleague (I've just found out how hard it is to write the word colleague without preceding it with the word esteemed) Domhall MacAuley also lamented that GPs were not represented, feeling this underscored the impression that GPs were second-rate doctors and basically a load of shite.

'Where were the general practitioners?' he asked. 'There was no mention of family doctors who provide most of the front line care in the UK. Does it really matter? It does, because ... it perpetuates a traditional hierarchy and subtly denigrates almost half the medical profession.'

But I think our esteemed colleague (there you are, I couldn't resist it this time, but don't you think it sounds a bit sarcastic?) is being a bit too sensitive. GPs are cool with this kind of thing; we're used to it, we are comfortable in our own tweed-jacketed skin. We aren't insecure, we don't need that kind of external validation, and we don't yearn to suckle on the giant nipples of media coverage.

I must also confess that in the past I myself have been described as a top doc, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. 'Top doc and supermodel in naked punch-up outside sleazy Monte Carlo night club,' ran the headline.

Where did it all go wrong, I wonder.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Patient receiving flu vaccination

GP practices denied funding to vaccinate their own staff against flu

GPs have hit out at NHS England over a 'maddeningly frustrating' failure to offer...

BMA junior doctor strike action in 2016

Junior doctors to be balloted on industrial action in early January

The BMA looks set to ballot junior doctors in England on industrial action in early...

BMA sign

BMA sets up first-ever ‘strike fund’ to support industrial action

The BMA is about to release £2m from its reserves to pay for possible ballots on...

Dozens of GPs with suicidal thoughts contact specialist service every month

A specialist mental health service for doctors is being contacted by dozens of GPs...

GP consultation

GPs demand this summer 'matched pre-pandemic winter'

General practice needs urgent support to cope with spiralling demand after appointments...

Talking General Practice

Podcast: Looking after GP mental health at a time of crisis

We speak to Dr Helen Garr, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, about the...