Low pay, rocketing training costs and a pandemic: nine things that are nothing to do with the NHS staffing crisis

THE NHS staffing crisis is the worst ever and has no connection whatsoever with any of these issues: 

Low pay

Those who are drawn to the caring professions – doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical technicians – aren’t motivated by anything as crass as money. They’re in it to make a difference, like the volunteers at the food banks they visit so frequently.

Training costs

It costs a mere £100,000 or so to become a doctor and often only £30,000 to become a nurse, so the cost is no bar to the ambitious. That’s why nursing bursaries were withdrawn to eliminate the freeloaders.

A pandemic

Nothing shows how much we need the NHS like a pandemic, and nothing shows appreciation for risking your life like a doorstep clap and a pandemic medal. Staff won’t have been burnt out by it. They’ll have been reinvigorated.

Long hours

Junior doctors aren’t like mere fallible humans. They thrive on 48-hour shifts, calculating dosages of deadly drugs in their heads, and sleeping in their cars. It’s like an extreme sport to them. They’d no sooner give it up than a base jumper would his wingsuit.

Parking charges

Medical workers are people of science. They know time is fixed and immutable, and if they’re two minutes late to their car because of a patient’s heart attack they’ll be fined £40. They wouldn’t quibble that any more than they’d quibble gravity.

Waiting times

NHS staff love to see patients queuing up waiting for life-saving care because it shows how popular they are. The guarantee of future employment is like a pension for them, offsetting the news about their pensions.

Inadequate funding

Telling a patient that unfortunately they won’t learn to speak again after their stroke because the funding’s been cut is no big deal to an NHS worker. They’re no more disheartened than a mechanic explaining your car’s failed its MOT.


Nothing is Brexit’s fault except happiness. The exodus of trained foreign medical staff is of no account. If they didn’t love Britain they wouldn’t be safe treating Britons, so good riddance.

Conservative governments

Everyone deserves to be sexually fulfilled, and Tories get off on treating public sector workers like shit. That has no bearing on staff shortages. They are an integral part of this erotic dance and love it really.

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'You'll catch more flies with Manuka than balsamic': five phrases made middle-class

BETTER than everyone else, but still using their grubby tradesmen’s idioms? Indulge in these middle-class rewrites instead: 

‘Out of the air fryer, into the Aga’

Fire is outdated and contribute to climate change, which you’re more concerned about than anyone else. And they don’t keep kitchens as toasty as a good Aga so celebrate your loyalty to the brand by trading the old phrase for this new one, with connotations of swapping unhealthy fried breakfasts for a lovely baked sourdough.

‘You’ll catch more flies with Manuka than balsamic’

Vinegar is such a lower-order word, bringing to mind a ‘chippy’ in Wigan instead of the leafy lanes of Hampstead. The kind of flies you’ll be attracting should be able to tell the difference between a cheap balsamic and the Modena one you picked up from the organic grocer.

‘When life gives you lemons, make citron pressé’

When you’re drifting around the farmers’ market with a basket of Sicilian lemons, why would you turn them into anything other than a bitter, worse version of lemonade that makes you feel European and sophisticated?

‘It’s no use crying over spilt almond and cashew milk blend’

Vegan milks are expensive, but you’re on £80,000 a year, not including your bonus, and have been very fortunate with your property portfolio. Nothing that a quick call to your accountant confirms you can claim as expenses should be cried over.

‘A second home is where the heart is’

It’s so tricky. Though you might love your £1.3m Muswell Hill townhouse, you feel your most authentic self when you’re in your farmhouse in the Dordogne. Let this phrase save you from the heartache of being caught between the two.

‘The nouveau-riche and their money are soon parted’

You shake your head in disdain as the newly minted drive around town in their Lamborghinis and hulking Range Rovers. A true middle-class person stays that way by driving a modest Volvo and spending £48,000 a term on school fees.