‘I was forced to eat northern delicacies and sleep under the floor boards.’ The words of a traumatised GP who was kidnapped and forced to work in Hull.
The doctor spoke to us from a local safe house: ‘It all started at the job fair. I was weighing up my options and I remember speaking to the team from Hull. They were offering a radical new recruitment programme including a sabbatical and an MBA but no one seemed interested. When I was leaving I saw a man with a broken arm trying to load a sofa into the back of a van. The next thing I knew I’d been knocked over the head and was being driven up to Hull.’
Once in Hull he was forced to sign a contract which effectively handed over the next six years of his life: ‘I was forced to work twelve hour shifts, moving from one over-stretched run down practice to another. It was exhausting and everything was crumbling. In the evenings I shivered under the floorboards and survived on a diet of patties, pork tubes and a weird kind of canned burger thing. Sometimes the local children would break in and play ‘Angry keks’ or ‘Coil the cat turd’, northern street games whose rules still remain a mystery to me.’
After three torturous years the gang left the door open and he was able to escape ‘I still suffer flash backs,’ says the doctor, ‘and I don’t think the experience of eating processed lamb pressed into a variety of amusing animal shapes will ever leave me.’
The scheme, which was considered to be a success, will now be rolled out nationally to include areas as diverse as Dagenham, Basingstoke, Croydon and Crewe.
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh