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Summary

Welcome to the life of Dr Max Skittle. Therapist, relationship counsellor, social worker, friend, parent-figure - and, yes: doctor. 

Join Max - and his patients - as he takes us on a rollercoaster journey through a year in the life of a doctor: from infected toenails, to wonky elbows, to erectile disfunction, to bed bugs; the happy couple expecting a surprise new baby; the teenage girl struggling with body image issues; the loving family grappling with grief, Max shows us all the highs and crushing lows that come with being a GP - and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives forever. 

This is what really goes on in your local doctor's surgery - spilt urine bottles, existential crises, emails back and forth with social services, utterly unexplainable health problems and appointments always running late - told by a man who, despite it all, really loves his job. 

Previously published as The Secret GP.

©2020 Dr Max Skittle (P)2020 Bonnier Books UK

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What seems to be the problem has been done before

The Secret GP is written by Dr Max Skittle (not his real name) in the style of Adam Kay author of the phenomenally successful memoir "This is Going to Hurt". It consists of amusing diary entries from mid 2018 to mid 2019 with anecdotes about bodily fluids and patients who present with embarrassing conditions against a backdrop of Dr Skittle's private life which consists of his wife and baby son and their city lifestyle.

Whilst medical memoirs are by no means a new genre, Dr Skittle has tried to emulate Adam Kay's winning formula but unfortunately it does not work nearly as well. Firstly, Adam Kay was a full time comedy writer for nearly a decade prior to his foray into book writing and Dr Skittle's sense of the comic skills are not nearly has honed. Secondly, compared to Adam Kay's memoirs of being an obstetrician, the world of General Practice is, how should I put this, a little dull in comparison. Thirdly, whilst Adam Kay uses his organ to rage about the state of the NHS, Dr Skittle does not think it is too bad and even compliments the government for their handling of the COVID 19 pandemic. And fourthly, whilst Adam Kay's back story is riddled with strains on his personal relationships as a result of working inhumanly long shifts in a hospital, Dr Skittle seems quite pleased with his lot as a comfortable GP seeing patients four days a week.

Having said that, the book does does give some insight into the life of a family doctor. And yes there are pressures resulting from unrealistic expectations from patients who wait for two weeks for a ten minute meeting leading to the greatest scourge of family doctors which is self diagnosis using Google. A family doctor is the gatekeeper of the NHS and there is certainly more to it than some GPs make out i.e. either prescribing antibiotics or referring to a hospital specialist. Dr Skittle rightly says that a good family doctors should give patients what they need rather than what they want and should be careful not to be too popular on the recommendation sites as that is a sign that the need / wants may be out of balance. What seems to be the problem is this has been done before, and a lot better.

8 people found this helpful

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Not the best narration

Whilst I enjoyed the content and story of this book, I really felt that the narrator didn't bring the personality of "Dr Skittle" to life. What should be cynical, dark "NHS" humour, really missed the mark on execution.
Nonetheless, I did enjoy listening to this book on my commute to and from my NHS hospital based job...!

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Brilliant!

Brilliant! Funny and insightful. Really enjoyed it. Renewed respect for GPs and of course the NHS!

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Amazing & insightful

What a wonderful listen. I was taken in completely by the second paragraph. Moving, hilarious, thoughtful. You don't normally get to hear the life of a GP so this was fascinating. You don't realise that some doctors really do care and that you aren't just the next patient.

Dr 'Max Skittles", I wish you were my GP!

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Not to much about being a GP

After reading the secret barrister was excited to read this but was left feeling underwhelmed.

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I love this book!

Amazing and well descriptive. Both funny and sad, done brilliantly. Really give you an insight into the life of a GP.

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I was enjoying it until……

he announced that ‘fully breast feeding prevents pregnancy’. Not the wisest peace of medical advice!

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Mainly a soppy memoir about a first time father

I generally love books about other professions and have listened to many in my time, but this one should have been labelled as a Rosamunde Pilcher soppy happy world book. It is mainly about the author’s perfect private life in mind-numbingly dull detail and how little he cares about his professional one now that he has a son. Slightly odd in a book supposedly about said professional one.
If you hope to learn more about medicine or the NHS, this is not the book for you, that is for certain. Furthermore, the author lost all my sympathy when he acted as if a man having a 30 minute panic attack was just making a big fuss and wasting his time. He also bangs on a lot about his own mental well-being and the nightmare that is his boss, only to be apparently bored to tears when there is an active attempt by said boss to tackle the well-being of his staff and the general work environment. Not to mention that the author wrote an entire book about his inner world and random ruminations, but seems to feel that other people even mentioning their feelings is silly and pathetic new-age nonsense.
Maybe a little less feeling like he is the first person on this planet to have a child and a little more psychology training would do him well.

All in all, a thoroughly unenjoyable book about the life of an obnoxious and unsympathetic person.

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Really enjoyed

I really enjoyed !
Found it light and easy to listen to !
Nice to relate to a human 😂

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brilliant

fantastic insight into the workings of a GP. As a Practice nurse I was laughing through :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • StephB
  • 12-11-21

GLAD HE’s NOT MY PHYSICIAN

I just hope patients out there know that the majority of physicians are not like Max Skittle. Really.
I’m guessing Dr. Skittle was burned out, and had the opportunity to write a novel. He should have passed on writing the novel. But his other life changing decision was a good one. I honestly thought he was joking. I was unnerved, disheartened and disgusted by the theme of this novel: Sharing his patronizing and judgmental thoughts about his patients. How would you feel if your physician was comparing your obesity to the folds of dough from The Great British Bake Off? Or was praying they he didn’t have to go near her vagina, “WITH or without gloves.” He was disgusted by your urine or flaky skin and mocked patients who ask “of stupid questions.” He thought it was ingenious to pretend that he was putting a lot of serious thought into your issue by “chewing on the end of a pen” and looking deep in thought, just so you would think he was working hard to diagnose you! He even said to a patient, “it is my tremendous pleasure to help you”, and then say he then shared with the listener, “that’s a big lie.” Really? I kept waiting for some eye opening experience to occur, like Harrison Ford had in the film, “The Patient”. In the film, he is sort of like Max. But then he ends up in hospital snd experiences what it is to be like on the other side and walks away s better physician snd person. But I was 3/4 of the way through, and it still hadn’t happened. More insults about patients, such as the obese woman who is on or his “favorites”, saying, “I think she is hitting her arm fat and watching it giggle.
I had to stopped and decided I that the only time I would ever listen to this again is when I am training medical providers on what NOT to do when working with their patients. To me, there was a HUGE discrepancy between what he was saying, “I really do care for my patients”, and how he truly felt. “(I am so stupid to ask them how I can help.”
Dr Skittle, I hope you listens to your audiobook and then ask yourself, “what if I found out my wife’s physician was taking about her this way?
What would my patients say about me? and, “Why did I really leave medicine? Do we seem trustworthy, supportive and empathetic??
Huge ego, little self eflection.
The narrator was great. I wonder how he really felt about what he was reading.
There are MANY amazing, smart, empathetic, knowledgeable and trusting providers out there.
This just isn’t one of them.

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  • Jonathan
  • 21-07-22

Just didn’t and awful awful

I thought this would be a better collection of stories about a physician seeing patients in the trials and tribulations. All it is is just one guy complaining and complaining about stupid things. It’s in journal form so it’s even worse.

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  • Alex
  • 28-04-22

Funny and entertaining book!

I enjoyed this book a lot. It is a light, funny, witty, and entertaining story.

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  • AJ N.
  • 09-11-21

Super Fun Read

Delightfully fun read straight through. A no-nonsense approach/opinion/description of the "human condition " in most of it's shapes and forms. I giggled through most, roared laughing through bits and thoroughly enjoyed a down-to-earth summary of life in the UK medical system. As a retired emergency services worker I can appreciate some bits more than imaginable! Dr. Skittle has an irreverent approach to life at all points and the regularly inserted profanity that only makes his dry humor that much greater. Bravo!