Thursday, 2 July 2009

Doctor Finlay’s Facebook

‘Doctor Finlay! Doctor Cameron! Have you seen the news?’

Janet pattered into the Tannochbrae surgery drawing-room.

The doctors looked up from their medical notes and rugby boots, Bible and fly-tying vise.

‘Och, Janet. What’s a’ the fuss?’ gruffly inquired dour, craggy, prudent Presbyterian senior partner, Doctor Cameron.

Janet, their pert, clean, good-hearted and above all chaste and simple house-keeper flung down the half-plucked haggis she had been gralloching and tapped in her login to the Surgery’s PC – a machine never yet connected to the newfangled NHS database due to difficulties ‘down at that London town.’

‘Why, Doctor Cameron, they have banned smoking from the whole of their grand new Blackburn hospital down at England. I read about it on the electronical newspaper here.’

It was but the work of moments for the surgery’s peat-fuelled digital engine to conjure up the words of the exotically-named but typically sinister Sassenach journal The Bolton News.

SMOKING has been banned at the entire Royal Bolton Hospital site.

From yesterday, patients, visitors and staff are being asked not to smoke in the hospital grounds.

‘An’ a good thing too,’ rumbled a granite-faced and yet canny Doctor Cameron gazing meditatively over Janet’s demurely but attractively sloped shoulder. ‘Tobacco’s the De’il’s Weed, I’ve always said so; taking men’s minds away from proper thoughts of damnation and punishment in the Hereafter and more godly pastimes of fly-fishing and porridge – the Lord’s ain sport an’ food respectively.’

Grimly, the great but modest healer read on.

However, the message had not reached everyone, with many people lighting up, claiming they were unaware of the ban.

‘A likely story,’ rumbled dour-but-kindly Doctor Cameron once more,’ These fecklin’ plumptie’ English weasel-fashers ne’er had a lick o’ sense or readin’ skills in their haids – nor the willingness to submit to God’s properly instituted authority - to their immeditate regret and eternal torment once the Reaper calls, I might add.’

Hospital chief executive David Fillingham said: “I am very pleased that we are taking things forward in this way, our aim is to be a health promoting hospital.

‘If they must, I suppose, “health promotin’” might play a part in modern (he grimaced at the word) hospitals in soft places like England, but up here in Tannochbrae ’tis the contemplation of a justly painful and reekin’ eternity that must hold our patients’ thoughts as we go about our decent work.’

“Giving up smoking is probably the single biggest thing people can do to improve their health. This is all about encouraging people to do that.

‘I don’t know about that,’ put in young, idealistic, forward-thinking Doctor Finlay. ‘I wonder how encouraged the patients might feel if they need their bifters an’ cannae’ have one.I though hospitals'd be a place of peace an' refuge for the poorly. Must be a glum prospect, a week or twa’ in Bolton Royal Hospital, I’m thinking.

Och,’ ejaculated Cameron at his impertinent yet liberal-minded junior’s interjection. ‘I’ll be havin’ none o’ this namby-mamby cossettin’ of the Heaven-sent suffering o’ the deservedly sick even as they sweat an’ weep in the pains that their sins hae’ brought upon them. Ye’ fash yerself too much about the corrupt and wasted bodies of sinners, Finlay; you with your effete university ways, an’ your rugby an’ your antibiotics’ an' your anaesthetics’.

“We are not a dictatorship, we are going to be respectfully and politely asking people not to smoke. We cannot enforce it, but we can ask.

‘An’ there’s the rub, young Finlay – the English hae’ gone soft. Time was, Cromwell wouldh’ae sent out his Divines or his Major-Generals an’ made the pot-mouthed reekin’ scrutties douse their cursed hellfires an’ pray for forgiveness: a forgiveness that wouldn’ae come fro’ a just and vengeful Heaven! This Fillingham is plain too weak for the Lord’s work o’ correcting the fallen.'

Doctor Finlay read on liberal-mindedly and yet doubtfully.

“It will take a bit to time for the message to sink in and the culture to change but I think it will work. I would ask people to think about themselves and their health, but also their families and others.”

‘I’ll not be agreeing with this, Doctor Cameron,’ he remarked, ‘For ‘tis hard to see just how their families will gain from knowing their kinsmen are standing in surgical gowns, and some wheeling drips after them, on the pavements beyond the hospital grounds in fair weather or foul. What should happen an’ a car comes through a puddle as the poor wretches are smoking beside them? It may only rain two hundred days in the year in England, but still there are a powerful lot of motor-cars in England, so they say.’

There came no answer from peevish puritanical Doctor Cameron as he in turn read on; a look of granite-like satisfaction and grudging approval lighting up the stormy-clouded Blue Mountains of his eyes.

Health chiefs announced in February that the hospital would become a smoke-free site from July 1, in a bid to promote better health among Bolton’s residents.

The ban is not legally enforceable but patients, visitors and staff are being asked to respect it.

It was officially launched at 9am yesterday with Mr Fillingham and the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Norman Critchley, among the guests.

Cllr Critchley, who gave up smoking a pipe 10 years ago, said: “The ban is definitely a good idea and I support it.

“I feel so much better for giving up. I know it is difficult but people can do it. They have a responsibility to themselves, their families and others.”

That’s mair like it laddie,’ he rumbled like a pair strong, black, iron-studded oaken Kirk doors closing on an accused adulterer’s heart. ‘This Councillor Critchley sounds like a righteous man, for a Sassenach, an’ one steeped in the holy knowledge that hospitals and medicine are not cheap gee-gaws tae give comfort or pleasure tae weak-fleshed mortal s but for suffering and repentance of men’s foul habits, their dirtier minds and for their filthy, damned an’ irredeemable souls tae feel the first dim shadows of God’s great retribution an’ the endless scouring that the grave holds for smokers an’ self-abusers of all sorts. I dinnae give that for soft sheets an’ clean wards wi’out a bit of Providence’s little helper MRSA or any indulgent peace an’ quiet an’ a little of what ye fancy does ye good; they’re a place where the Godly ha’e the duty tae draw repentance from those who ha’e cursed the Lord’s holy Creation an’ the sepulchre of their lungs, bellies, mouths and worst of all their bindling creffity druggans.’

A member of staff dressed as a cigarette and a large inflatable cigarette and balloons were used to highlight the start of the ban.

‘A sober, decent man, I’m sure,’ put in Doctor Finlay, his gentle yet austere humour inaudible to Tannochbrae’s chief elder and bone cutter.

The smoking shelters have been removed from the site and banners and posters have gone up to let people know about the ban.

‘Let em despair, Finlay, let ‘em despair, and feel the naked elements like unto first breath of that scourging wind that Hades has readied for them forever. Le them face the Heavens’ full force as one day and every day thereafter, they will feel Hell’s.’

‘Aye, Doctor Cameron.’ replied Finlay. I wonder what Hell will feel like, and how one might arrive there?...’

There is also information on the website and intranet and cards have been printed explaining the move.

Anyone found lighting up will be informed by staff that the site is smoke free and asked not to smoke and given one of the cards.

Members of staff caught smoking will be advised of the ban and given information about the help available to quit. Persistent offenders will face disciplinary action.

Staffside, a collaboration of members of the Unison and Unite unions at the hospital, is unhappy about the ban, claiming the hospital was taking away people’s choice.

Picture from here.
Apologies to AJ Cronin and all his admirers.


ivan said...

Having smoked a pipe for over 40 years I fail to see what all the hysteria about smoking is about.

It appears that the obsession people have about trying to live in sterile conditions is the main cause of most of today's illnesses.

I have knocked about the world without harm, eating and drinking with the locals. I have also seen pampered tourists getting sick when they leave their sterile enclave.

The nanny state that the UK has become is causing more problems than it is solving.

banned said...

They banned smoking on the entire estate of our main local hospital a couple of years ago ( though not the neighbouring psychiatric unit ).
Patients and visitors still gather to smoke outside the various entrances, drips'n all while staff in their many coloured uniforms have to walk several hundred yards to smoke on the public highway exposed to the elements, car pollution and anti-social types.

I do miss Dr Finlays Casebook, nice skit.

JuliaM said...

Nicely done, nicely done indeed...

"The ban is not legally enforceable but patients, visitors and staff are being asked to respect it. "

The law? Oh, that's just for other people...

I hate them so much. And I don't even smoke!

Goodnight Vienna said...

Spot on (and v funny). If I ever have the misfortune to be hospitalised I'll remember to pack my umbrella and hiking boots.

James Higham said...

A member of staff dressed as a cigarette and a large inflatable cigarette and balloons were used to highlight the start of the ban.

Better than dressing as a condom.

North Northwester said...

Thank you all for your kind and illustrative comments. Wait'll you see what I do to the police at the weekend.

Banned, did you see the ITV remake? Not a spot on the BBC original in my opinion.

Good Lord, did I write that particular sentence?

However, my poor spoofing talents aside have you noticed that pretty much anything we Righties/sanies do to bring the jokers down a peg or two is up against the massive obstacle that our masters are nearly beyond satire?

We can try, but kicking sick people off a hospital's grounds in the name of their own welfare?


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