"Hello Mr Pitt. What can I do for you?"

"Where's Dr Fanners?"

"He's retired, I'm afraid."

"But I always see Dr Fanners."

"As I said, he's no longer with us - but I've taken over his patients."

"Then you should know all about me."

"Yes, well, from what I've gleaned, you've been down our way rather a lot."


"This is your 20th visit to the doctor this year."

"So who's counting?"

"Actually, the computer does it. I press `A' next to your name and it gives the number of attendances this year."

"Why would you need to know that?"

"Well, on average men of your age attend twice a year, so either you must be pretty sick or ...".


"Um - or there's a complex web of psychosocial issues triggering your attendance."

"I want some antibiotics for my cold."

"I see."

"Good. So if you'll let me have them, I'll leave you in peace with your computer."

"Mmm. Why do you think you need antibiotics?"

"Because I've got a cold. Are you deaf?"

"No. it's just that I wouldn't normally give you antibiotics for a cold."

"Oh wouldn't you? Well perhaps you could explain why Dr Fanners always gave me antibiotics for my colds, and I always got better."

"It's called association."


"Ninety-nine per cent of drivers involved in car accidents are wearing shoes. Does that mean that wearing shoes makes you crash the car? Would you ban shoes on the strength of it?"

"You've lost me completely now."

"The point is that just because something preceded something else, it doesn't mean it caused it. You would have got better from your colds just as quickly without the antibiotics. Trust me."

"You think you're so clever, don't you?"

"Well, doctors are in the top 0.1 per cent of the academic population ..."

"If you're so clever, perhaps you could explain why I always got antibiotics from Dr Fanners, who I presume was also in the top 0.1 per cent of the academic population."

"Not towards the end he wasn't."


"Nothing. It's just that Dr Fanners trained in an era when antibiotics were seen as cure-alls. Magic bullets, if you like. And despite the overwhelming evidence that they don't make a jot of difference to viral infections, he preferred to stick with his beliefs. Now, I'm not saying he was a bad doctor - far from it - but you and I know that medical science has progressed rather faster than Dr Fanners, don't we Derek?"

"Do you know, you're really starting to annoy me."

"I understand your anger, Derek. You and generations before you have had your faith in a pill for every ill reinforced by Dr Fanners and his idiosyncratic prescribing. But I'm saying, let's challenge those beliefs; let's break free from the drug culture and give your body a chance to heal itself."

"And I'm saying, give me the tablets or else."

"Or else what?"

"Or else I'm not leaving this room."

"Fine, but you'll have to move over - I've got to re-dress Mrs Acheson's ulcer. You can help me if you like."

"I will if you'll give me the tablets."

"Derek, I'd love to. But your cold is caused by a rhinovirus living inside the cells of your respiratory epithelium where antibiotics can't get to it. Prescribing would merely reinforce your doctor-dependence and undermine your autonomy."

"You've got about three seconds left before I punch your lights out."

"Now you're just being childish. I'm trying to educate you, Derek. Antibiotics don't cure colds or flu, and they aren't much use for tonsillitis and ear infections, either. To get penicillin out of me, you'd need to come back with syphilis."

"Will Dr Fanners be coming back?"


"Pity. He was amazing."

"Yes, well everybody's searching for a hero."

"George Benson, "The Greatest Love of All". My favourite song ever."

"Really? Mine too."

I believe the children are our future."

"Teach them well and let them lead the way."

"Show them all the beauty they possess inside."

"Give them a sense of pride - to make it easier."

"Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be."

"Do you know, when I'm feeling really low, I take the phone off the hook, pump up the volume and yell: "I DECIDED LONG AGO, NEVER TO WALK IN ANYONE S SHADOW!!!"



"Amen to that."


"Isn't it amazing how a dysfunctional consultation can be turned round by the mutual love of a cheesy soul anthem?"

"Does that mean I get the antibiotics?"