`But the most amazing thing is that nearly half of all doctors who get struck off are accepted back'

Morning, Mr Hudson. I've come to change your catheter.

We'll see.

How's that new leg bag? Not chafing too much?

It's OK, I suppose.

I sense a certain reticence. Is anything the matter?

Doctor, can I ask you something?

Anything you like. I'm just letting the balloon down.

Do you gain any gratification from this?

I'm sorry?

It's just something I read in the paper. "Next time you see the doctor, remember that the person examining you could have been found guilty of fraud, assault, manslaughter, paedophilia or lethal incompetence."

Just pulling it out now.

Oooh.

And which disgusting left-wing rag is peddling that filth?

`The Daily Telegraph'.

I don't believe you.

Here it is. July 20, page 32. The Alasdair Palmer column.

I'm sorry, I can't touch it. I'm sterile.

Would you like me to summarise his argument?

If you like.

He starts with the story of a doctor found guilty of indecent assault. In sentencing him to nine months, the judge said, "The public are surely entitled to know that when they see a doctor, they will not be mauled in an indecent, sexual or grubby way."

Just going to clean your penis.

Easy, tiger.

Look, do you want me to do this or not?

Sorry. The point is that this doctor had already been up in front of the General Medical Council in 1995 for alleged indecent assaults on two women. Breast-fond ...

Spare me the details.

And he was cleared. Then five more women complained and it went before a jury, not the GMC. So although he's off to prison, he's still on the medical register.

Yes, but he will be struck off.

But for how long? Alasdair cites another doctor who behaved indecently ...

Just squirting some anaesthetic gel down your urethra.

Quite right.

But last week they restored him to the register after pleading his behaviour "could have been caused by an acute toxic confusional state".

Yes, well, I can't comment on the specifics. Now, do you think that lignocaine will have kicked in by now?

Then there's the doctor who flogged off NHS blood supplies to the private sector. The judge told him his career as a doctor in the UK lay shattered for all time - but he's back in business, too.

In we go now.

Alasdair tells me of another doctor who gave overdoses to 12 babies and wasn't even suspended - and another who was convicted several times for indecency with minors before he was struck off.

Just trying to get round the prostate.

But the most amazing thing is that nearly half of all the doctors who are struck off and then reapply to be restored are accepted back.

Look, let's get a sense of perspective, shall we? There are 150,000 doctors on the register and the vast majority of them behave properly toward their patients. If all of them lined up to catheterise you, I doubt whether more than a handful would find the experience gratifying.

Thank God for that.

Now, of more pressing concern is your prostate. I can't seem to get the catheter round the kink.

You do know what you're doing, don't you?

What's Alasdair been saying now?

This isn't Alasdair. This is Professor Alan Maynard, writing in June 12's `Health Service Journal'.

And what's he said?

That the lumpen proletariat of GPs needs to be managed vigorously because 30 per cent of you aren't fit to practise.

And what's his proof?

Um. He doesn't give any proof - he just says that's what some of the good GPs are whispering about their colleagues.

Well, you need more than whispers before you defame a whole chunk of family doctors.

If you say so.

Can I just ask you where you get your reading material from?

The Internet. There's an `All Doctors Are Bastards' Web site.

Well, can I give you this to read instead. It's the first-ever `Emergency Ward 10' annual.

This is brilliant. No knocker-fondling, and all the catheters slip in first time.

And in she goes.

Thank you, doctor, for all you've done.

Yes, well, in future, don't believe what you read - unless a doctor gives it to youn

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