It was great watching Lewis Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix for the third time in his Formula 1 career. There’s no doubt Lewis and all the other F1 drivers are incredibly skilled and can make a car do things that Newton’s laws of motion would struggle with. Of course at the pinnacle of motorsport you would expect nothing less.
That said, the driver is always the first to point out they are only the visible part of a very big team of many hundreds of people consisting of race engineers, mechanics, designers, software writers and numerous other specialities.
The driver is just one cog in an incredibly expensive machine (although admittedly a big one, taking all the risks). But ultimately, all the cogs mesh together, turning together and striving for success. It is poetry in motion.
Now imagine if the NHS were a team trying to get into Formula 1.
The team principal would be viewed as arrogant and out of touch by the workforce. The engineers would be expected to work seven days a week even though most of their essential support services only worked Monday to Friday. Each section in the factory would use incompatible design software that couldn’t communicate with each other and after months of work when it came to bolt the engine into the chassis they’d find the bolt holes didn’t quite line up and it would have to be botched.
To top all that, the driver would have so many forms to fill in before and after driving the car he would hardly have any track time. Before every race he’d be attending courses on resilience training, which is just as well – he’d be black and blue by the end, because budget cuts meant there would be no driving seat.
The only lucrative part of the team would be the PR department, who’d they’d be working flat out on glossy press releases saying how great the car was despite the fact it only had three wheels and the aerodynamic capabilities of a house brick.
The mechanics would keep saying the car is rubbish, but the team principal would shout them down saying they were lazy and had a rubbish union.
Sounds a bit like the real NHS – except in our machine, the cogs don’t turn together.
Dr Hadrian Moss is a GP in Kettering, Northamptonshire. You can tweet him at @DrHMoss.