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.

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