Review: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Adam Kay delivers his first novel: a hilarious, heartbreaking, eye-opening and award winning collection of diary entries that span his five year career as an NHS doctor.

Not for the faint hearted, this book contains a number of shocking and nauseating medical stories. You have been warned!
But this isn’t merely a collection of humorous anecdotes; it is so much more. Kay chose to convert his medical diary entries into a novel during the junior doctor’s strike that took place in 2016. Horrified by the government’s attack on junior doctors, he released this book to refute their claims; exposing what life is really like for a junior doctor working in the NHS. The long hours, low pay, poor working conditions and lack of mental health support – just to name a few of the issues.

Kay has expertly translated technical medical information into humorous bite-sized anecdotes, with the help of some very detailed footnotes. The diary entry style format of this book is perfect for delivering a very important message: Doctors are people too; often overworked, underpaid and highly stressed.
The book flows well, building up to the final entry, and the reason Kay left the medical industry: a birth that went horribly wrong. I will probably never forget reading this part of the book, sitting in the back row on the upper level of the number 176 bus on the way to Tottenham Court Road; sun streaming through the window, tears streaming down my face.

There are some books that cut right to your core, and This is Going to Hurt certainly cut to my very core. You will laugh and cry right alongside Kay as he shares his story, and you will get an important insight into the inner workings of the NHS: the lack of public funding, the policy issues and the profound effect these policies have on the staff. But especially how the government relies on the goodness of employees to keep the NHS running.

Rating: 5 out of 5. One of the most important books you can read. Spare a thought for your doctor the next time they look like they might nod off while filling out your prescription. They probably haven’t slept, showered or eaten in days…

 

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