Monty Python performing ‘The Four Yorkshiremen’ Sketch

(It’s approaching 8pm and four tired looking clinicians are preparing to go home at the end of what has been another busy day. The only refreshment they have access to is that provided by the decrepit looking machine that is positioned in the corner of the room in which they are sitting)

C1: This coffee, it’s pretty disgusting isn’t it?

C2: Not great. The milk being off doesn’t help!

C3: You’re not wrong there.

C4: Who’d have thought thirty years ago we’d all be sitting here drinking vending machine coffee out of white plastic cups.

C1: Whilst staring at a machine that’s supposed to dispense chocolate bars and packets of crisps but which hasn’t worked for months.

C2: Aye. 30 years ago, I’d have been able to get something to eat in the staff canteen.

C3: Aye, in them days, it would have been a proper meal, and a hot one at that.

C4: Well I’d have been provided with a selection of seasonal vegetables.

C1: Was that all you had. I’d have had a pudding too! Complete with custard!

C2: It was even better than that for me. I’d have eaten my food from a warm plate and would have had a knife and fork at my disposal. And they’d have been clean!

C3: Ah yes, when I was a junior doctor, a little time in the canteen would have been a fixture of my working day, ones which, though undeniably busy, were nonetheless always rewarding. And, what’s more, they were days when all the patients I saw were ones who genuinely needed my help.

C4: Well, in my day I’d have had the time to not only treat my patients properly but also explain to them what it was that I was doing.

C1: Me, I’d have been able to speak to their concerned relatives as well.

C2: Far better than that, I’d have had all the drugs I needed readily available for me to use.

C3: Back when I started, I never have had to turn patients away because there wasn’t any capacity to provide care for them.

C4: Well back when I started out, folk who had cardiac sounding chest pain wouldn’t have been on hold for 15 minutes before their 999 call was even answered. And as soon as they described their symptoms to the call handler, an ambulance would have been dispatched. Everything then was done immediately. There were no life threatening delays back then for my patients.

C1: Even better than that! My patients didn’t have to wait outside A&E for countless hours in the back of an ambulance, and then countless more on a trolly inside the department waiting for me to have half a chance to get round to seeing them.

C2: You had it hard. When I started out, we didn’t have 500 excess deaths every week due to delays in patients receiving care.

C3: When I first started looking for jobs there were plenty of doctors who wanted to work in the NHS. When I was applying for GP posts the competition was fierce. Not like now when there are thousands of vacancies across the country, with few if any individuals applying for even the most attractive jobs.

C4: Well when I was working on the wards, they were adequately staffed, with sufficient numbers of nurses to ensure that all the patients who needed to be cared for could be looked after safely.

C1: Better than that, my nurse colleagues were properly paid.

C2: Well how about this – I never once experienced a patient being verbally or physically abusive.

C3: (determined to describe the most idyllic of working environments possible) Right, all of that sounds terrible. In my day I started work at a reasonable hour, worked hard alongside others who enjoyed their work as much as I did, and, for the most part, found my days wonderfully satisfying. I was treated decently by those who employed me and was appreciated by those I was trying to help. Everybody worked together to deliver healthcare that was the envy of the world. Not only was it provided in a timely fashion, it was of a very high standard and offered free at the point of need.

C4: Ah, but if you try and tell all that to the young people today…they won’t believe you!

(All four nod the heads sagely and agree with this final remark)

[With apologies once again to Monty Python]

Other unlikely tales – beginning with four more inspired by Monty Python:

To read ‘The NHS Emporium’, click here

To read ‘The Dead NHS Sketch’, click here

To read ‘Monty Python and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Docteur Creosote’, click here

To read ‘the day LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD got sick’ click here

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘A GP called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Scooby Doo and the Deserted Medical Centre’, click here

To read ‘Paddington and the Ailing Elderly Relative’, click here

To read ‘Dr Jonathan Harker and the post evening surgery home visit’, click here

To read ‘Bagpuss and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here

To read ‘A Dream of an Antiques Roadshow’, click here

To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – A Tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here

To read ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here

To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here

To read ‘The Three General Practitioners Gruff’, click here

To read ‘General Practices are Go!’, click here

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here

To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here

To read ‘The State of Disrepair Shop’, click here

Other blogs with a cricketing them and a considerable nod to Monty Python:

To read ‘The Somerset Player Emporium’, click here

To read ‘A Song for Brian’, click here

To read ‘A Cricket Taunt’, click here


  1. Sadly, from an outsider’s (tho’ with a vested interest!) point of view it sounds desperate and would elevate all doctors and nurses to sainthood with all “smells and bells” as required! To use a popular government statement …. “take care and stay safe!” (Government are at the top of my prayer list … but they won’t like what I’m praying for!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would seem the Almighty doesn’t have a monopoly on working in mysterious ways. Unlike some others though, he can be guaranteed to perform wonders!




  3. So so true. I’ve been a nurse for 40+ years and could write a similar story about changes and how harsh it is now. And I just found out how little nurses make in the NHS and am shocked! Not near the wage I make in Canada. I have no idea about doctors but I suspect the compensation is also shockingly low. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

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