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Poem: Patient-doctor letters

Jim Stewart-Evans, Health Protection Agency scientist, envisages a change in relations between doctor and patient.

Jim Stewart-Evans receives a copy of Dr Phil Hammond’s latest DVD, Dr Phil’s Rude Health Show.

Dearest Doctor
My confidant in health
I write with profound gratitude
For newfound wellness in myself
My cholesterol’s much lower
I no longer have that UTI
My ear infection’s cleared up
And that sty’s gone from my eye
My fractured neck of femur
Was surgically cured
My visions of the black dog
Now narcotically obscured
I must also thank you kindly
As regards my IBS
I’m not going through the motions
Anyhow, thanks, I digress

Dear patient
I thank you for your letter
It’s pinned up on our noticeboard
And I’m glad you’re feeling better
This practice was my father’s
It’s a family concern
Sacredness of consultation
Is a bond of trust we earn
We’re pleased to be of service
We recognise you have a choice
Appreciate the feedback
Always good to hear your voice

Dearest Doctor
I write to request
Recently I’ve been yearning
For an enlargement of my chest
I’ve got a wonky ear-lobe
And it must be realigned
My gender is in error
And it must be reassigned
I’m barren and I’m desperate
IVF’s my need
Plus a quick vasectomy
So as not to sow my seed
My throat’s done a Frostrup
Think I need my tonsils out
My bunions have GOT to go
I yelp when I’m about
Oh, and I failed to mention
Since underneath the knife
For a cytotoxic stay of grace
I’ve been waiting all my life

Dear customer
To further correspond
It is with greatest sympathy
We must decline to respond
This consortium must balance
Financial and health needs
In utilitarianism
Like Christ, with mouths to feed
Your letter is on file
Our leaflet’s on the wall
Explaining how our ethos
Is better health for all
Our contractors have your details
We’ll leave you in their hands
For all non-essential treatments
There are structured payment plans
Meanwhile there’re a hundred
Waiting in the queue
So if you take a ticket
We’ll get back to you

Doctor Doctor
So-called wise physician
What a dirty little trick
From a quack magician
I’m feeling somewhat violated
As if by a prostate poke
Reaching for my grey-brown carton
Tell me do, is this a joke?
In Comic Sans typescript
From your swollen backroom staff
You don’t need nitrous oxide
To raise an unchecked laugh
You say there’re no more targets
But I’ll put one on your back
Sipping from your Pfizer mug
With such a change in tack
You’re entitled to your Audi?
It’s not my business what you make?
As you’re counting out the pennies
You don’t know what’s at stake
Twiddling the purse-strings
Such an honourable profession
Can’t I cash that bond of trust
In the midst of a recession?
I reject this contraindication
With typeset excuses twee
I just want to be a winner
In the postcode lottery
Doctor Doctor
This all leads me to confess
I think you got infected
When Lansley f**ked the NHS

By Jim Stewart-Evans, Health Protection Agency scientist

Visit for details of Dr Hammond’s upcoming tour dates.