Class distinctions and the NHS

If you’re going to get complaints from relatives, as an NHS doctor or nurse, the ones that are usually unjustified, often vindictive and create the most hassle are from one societal group – the middle classes. Honing down, it’s usually the “educated” middle. To quote one – “I know about this, I’m a dentist. I also have a degree in physiology.”


Why do these people behave as if the medical staff are trying to pull a fast one, but they – clever, internet active, university educated citizens – can see through the vast medical conspiracy, and they’re not having it, unlike those thick punters in the next bed.

I know, I am middle class, educated etc too, but despite popular myth, most doctors are pretty good patients.

The punters/working class of whom there are many, are nearly always fine. The occasional toffs likewise. This is not a defence of bad behaviour or bad practice by us privileged NHS public sector taxpayer-funded intact-pension-holding workers. Quite the opposite. Real bad practice is as bad for us as it is for the patients, in a way.

However, there are few things as dismal as a semi-knowledgeable nephew poring over  the vital signs chart of their elderly aunt, who they’ve not seen in two years, then doorstepping the doctor to demand an explanation for yesterday’s slight variation in blood pressure. It happens. This kind of behaviour, even with the best will in the world, is often counterproductive. Alienating the entire nursing staff is never good. Note that I stress it’s the relatives who are the problem. Patients hardly ever complain, and it’s not because they’re too ill to do so. They simply have a different perspective.

Anyway, nice to see Brendan O’Neill having a go at the same group, for slightly different reasons

Sister, please ban this man's ghastly family

One thought on “Class distinctions and the NHS

  1. Being almost a biblical definition of middle class, I took issue with your post at about the fourth syllable.

    Sadly, I heave a sigh of resignation, and have to admit you’re right.

    Only last year I said to my GP; “I have an ear infection, my Eustachian Tube is inflamed”. Fortunately, he was a wise old cove and tapped me over the head with his reflex hammer.

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