Intended for healthcare professionals


The good old days

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 01 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:59

Many a word spoken in jest

My old medical school friend encapsulates hilariously a truth which
more of us old-timers need to recognise. It took me years to recover from
my own burn-out in the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Emergency
Department of the 1990's, where 5 consultants worked almost round-the-
clock - voluntarily - in a bid to offer our patients a better service. The
result was physical, mental and marital exhaustion. And for what?
Collective, avoidable misery. We mostly did it for the "best reasons". But
there were bad reasons too: a rather conceited notion of being
indispensable, and an equally silly sense of heroism. Liam, I am sure that
you will get over your nostalgia for the pain! After all, the demise of
the medical "dray-horse" (i.e. the general practitioners and consultants
of yore) is as sensible as it is inevitable.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 July 2004
Chris Luke
Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine
Cork University Hospital