Liam Farrell: What to do when the GP Inspektor calls

The enthusiasm of the Inspektor of General Practice is commendable; when he asked to join me on a house call, I was happy enough, but him showing up in full dress uniform only invited derisive jeers from the locals.

Even worse, as the Inspektor climbed into the car, one of his brass buttons caught on the door-handle. The button snapped off and zipped against the window with a loud ping, the ricochet taking out a small and surprised pigeon.

His duties apparently included scrutinising my driving skills. 'Slow down,' he said, 'I note the many road signs warning about leaping deer.'

'A common misinterpretation,' I said. 'Those signs might suggest this country is an ecological wonderland - squirrels making you sandwiches, rabbits fondling each other inappropriately (I believe the term is twerking, they've obviously been heavily influenced by Miley Cyrus and her satanic messages), friendly badgers nibbling at your toes, unaware of the risk of passing on TB.

'The signs are misleading; there is more chance of hitting a sheep or a cow or a village idiot.'

The visits were mundane, such as a local farmer with stress after being blackmailed by a visiting Russian pole vaulter over twerking with a variety of barnyard animals, and a young woman having a convulsion (she was still tweeting, so I diagnosed a pseudoseizure).

But on the way back the Inspektor fixed me with a gimlet eye. 'You did not,' he said, bristling, 'offer the patient a free MOT.'

'Look, Inspektor,' I said, 'I am beginning to think that, so great is their obsession, there are advisers in every political party who cry out: "Yes! Yes! Yes! Free MOTs!" at the moment of climax. It may be a cheap thrill, and an even cheaper political stunt, but it has little scientific validity.'

'We shall get the proof we need,' he said.

'Beginning with a pre-ordained conclusion is not a scientific method,' I said, swerving to avoid a village idiot. 'When science and ideology conflict,' he replied, 'there can only be one winner.'

  • Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell.

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