Sunday, 15 April 2007

British Ballooney Corporation

Following another poorly researched episode of the pitiful Holby City, some junior doctors complained about nature of the program's portrayal of the new centralised job application process. Holby City ignorantly and misleadingly showed a junior doctor being offered a job while in the operating theatre with his consultant, and upon being offered the job the junior mentioned how content he was with becoming a consultant faster than ever thanks to HMG's butchering of medical training. This is the BBC's response in full:

"Thank you for your e-mail regarding a recent episode 'Holby City'.

I am sorry you felt some aspects of the drama to be unrealistic.

I must assure you that every episode of our drama is always thoroughly researched. We have a team of researchers who work constantly with medical professionals from all areas of expertise and, whilst we wish to create the best possible dramatic storylines, we always strive to ensure they are correct wherever possible.

Our Junior Doctor, Matt Parker, was seen being mentored by the Consultant (Clifford). Clifford saw great potential in Matt’s skills and said he would help in pushing him forward with regard to his upcoming F2 assessment. This followed on from an earlier scene where Matt was seen to be distracted, fighting with his girlfriend. Clifford wanted to make sure that Matt remained focused on his career by saying he would support him in his endeavours. Matt was excited, flattered and determined to succeed, referring to the fact that he thought he would be a Consultant within a number of years. This was his own take on Clifford’s support and not a reference to any job offer being made.

Similarly, the role offered to Matt's friend Dean in Psych may well have seemed unrealistic considering how the allocation of these roles would normally be handled centrally. It may have seemed unorthodox, but so was Dean's situation (caught up in the problems surrounding Matt). The offer came as a result of a conversation between Sang and Clifford who knew they needed somehow to salvage the situation. The finer details of this chat and their subsequent decision happened off screen.

It was implied that Dean's recent work with Sang and concerns for his friend showed his true potential. As with the Matt scenario, whilst it appeared a role was offered, that was not exactly the case. In fact the offer was Sang commenting on opportunities within the department, implying that she would completely support Dean if he took the opportunity to apply for psychiatric training (which may indeed in turn give him skills to work there). This is what was offered to Dean. Dean later tells Matt that Sang has offered him a job – not strictly true but he wanted to make it clear to Matt that he wasn’t going to be ruined by Matt’s actions.

Further to this, I wanted to assure you that we are completely aware of the recent controversial changes for Junior Doctors applying for work in the NHS and the problems it has caused within the health service. We at the BBC, along with the Consultant who advised on this episode, do not have an agenda to support MTAS as any sort of propaganda, but we welcome the opportunity to bring these real issues to the fore within the drama, controversial though they may be. Our aim is to provide thrilling, challenging and realistic storytelling wherever possible within the confines of Holby City.

I do hope this satisfies your concerns and that you continue to get pleasure from our future episodes.


Basically the BBC pretend to take on board the complainant's concerns, ignore them and carry on regardless in producing more of their woefully researched gutter dwelling twaddle like Holby City.

The BBC is trying to wriggle out of their complete misrepresentation of MTAS and MMC by nit picking over minor details of the plot, this is a sneaky and underhand way of ignoring the main substance of the complaint.

The main issue that the BBC does not address in its reply is that their program gave the public a false and misleading impression of MTAS and MMC. It is simply not good enough to claim that this is just 'thrillling controversial drama at its best', this is no excuse for their complete misrepresentation of a real situation.

It does make me very angry that we have to pay good money to fund this propaganda manufacture courtesy of the BBC. Either the BBC are deliberately spinning an HMG agenda or they are rank incompetents; either way they are frittering away tax payer's money in a way that serves the government's needs, whether this is deliberate or not is frankly immaterial.

If I ever have the gross misfortune to attend A/E with chest pain, and if I am seen directly by a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon then I promise that I shall write to the makers of Holby to express my sincere apologies for ever doubting the foresight of their brilliant cutting edge drama.

If on the other hand, I am sent home by a nurse practitioner to bleed to death from my aortic dissection (as HMG has stopped training cardiothoracic surgeons because they cost too much and cannot work in the community), then I will not apologise for my scurrilous accusations. I shall stick to my guns, and will proclaim from the pearly gates that Holby is a poor excuse for television. I bet the good Lord would agree.


Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Great article - I have to admit that I can not watch the programme, otherwise I would be writing in every week regarding their research. On this note it does seem totally insensitive to be covering a topic in a drama series, yet ignoring it on the news reports. Michelle

Anonymous said...

This could be a great blog, but most people will never know as it is just so looooooooooooong...

KISS - Keep It Short and Simple.
Concise sentences and articles pack a punch. The nature of a blog makes it very difficult to present things as paragraphs or bullet points - you need to slim things down for us - people are lazy and they will just not bother to get to the nitty-gritty.

Dr Sniper said...

Oh dear, sometimes you have to just put your head in your hands and weep. K.I.S.S. eh? I would love to know how anonymous would summarise such a complex point any quicker; especially considering most of the post was the BBC shite that the fancier was quoting to show their wilful crassness.

Michelle, Fancier - I suggest you watch House instead; it is so far removed from reality I can watch it and not shout at the TV. Also we all have an inner House (rude not necessarily drug addled)....

Dr Sniper

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