This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

read by Adam Kay

Adam Kay has given so many interviews and there have been so many prominent reviews of This is Goingto Hurt that a lot of the best jokes and funny episodes have already been aired many times. But don’t let that put you off. Medical students have always told tall tales and usually have a swollen list of anecdotes about their colleagues and patients. Medical black humour is as old as the medical profession itself and the tooth-pulling, grave-robbing, elixir-pushing mountebanks who preceded them. 

At book signings (at which, alas, full recommended price is usually a given), apparently, many a copy of This is Going to Hurt is destined for the (at the time of going to press, as the saying goes) Secretary of State for Health (and Social Care) Jeremy Hunt (he of a privatised NHS fame). Kay has famously shrugged off his medical calling and opted instead for writing and comedy. And if you listen to this audiobook you will find out precisely why.

The tall tales are good (especially as they are narrated by the author). The funny things people do to themselves are, well, excruciatingly funny also. However, the repeated sacrifices of a doctor’s life are saddening and the consequences of underfunding, under resourcing and overworking are chastening.

In the end, despite the jokes that are somehow not jokes at all (‘home delivery is for pizzas not babies’) and the jokes that are, one hopes, jokes (‘the undergraduate learning centre’ being known as the ‘early learning centre’), this is a deepfelt cry for attention from a professional who couldn’t carry on given the shameful and shocking demands on junior doctors of a health service in crisis. 

Shame on all of us to allow this to be.

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