If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
'You are gorgeous!’ I did a double take at the older lady sitting on the bed I was walking past.
‘Pardon me?’ I replied.
‘You are gorgeous,’ she repeated as other patients looked at me a bit more intently.
I was on an orthopaedic ward, slightly embarrassed at this newfound attention, and — not knowing how to respond appropriately — I walked over to the patient with an equally newfound professional strut.
‘Can I have a drink please?’ she said as I approached her bed.
‘Sure,’ I replied as I reached for the half-filled cup of water on the bedside table.
‘Not that,’ she said. ‘I mean a proper drink. Guinness.’
‘I am sorry madam, but you shouldn’t be drinking when you are on medication.’
She responded: ‘It is my medication. Look at my chart.’
I did and she was correct: the beer was prescribed once a day. It was, I later found out, to give her some ‘normality’ during rehabilitation.
Having looked at the literature since, I established that in some circumstances it was permitted, and was akin to giving a reduced or controlled dose of a drug to which a patient had become addicted.
The same day, a couple of doctors seemed very bleary-eyed during ward rounds and were performing on autopilot.
‘Pub crawl last night,’ they said. Their breath smelt of stale alcohol.
I finished the day by passing through the emergency department; many of the patients were there because of alcohol.
I got home and received a text from one of my workmates: ‘Want to go to the pub for a drink?’
The BMA article ‘Calling time on booze Britain’ suggests the government, having recognised the huge impact of alcohol use in its strategy published earlier this year, needs to get tough and tackle the problem. It states: ‘Britain’s drinking culture affects virtually every doctor in the land, with alcohol casually related to 60 different medical conditions …’
Evidently, the inference is that we are affected by patients’ alcohol consumption. However, perhaps we are more affected by our personal alcohol consumption than we are willing to admit.
Quite a few doctors are affected by the ‘pro-alcohol social norm’ culture, which seems to make imbibing of alcohol normal, acceptable, something to be proud of and boast about. How many times have you or your mates proudly proclaimed how ‘pissed’ you were following a night out? Are we leading by example?
Julian Gaskin is an orthopaedic trust registrar (specialty trainee 6 equivalent) in Worthing, West Sussex
Agreed. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it okay.
'Sober is the New Black' is written by a doctor (I believe) who got carried away with the socialising you describe
I'm not a big drinker and I can't drink a lot anyway because of the medication I'm on. I think it makes people look quite immature when they are boasting about how often they are drunk. It's also not healthy to be drinking a lot on a regularly basis and can do so much damage to your body.
I really like your article. I will search for the answer to the question or dilemmas you posed. I really need of this useful type of information. Thanks for sharing.