Book Review: This Is Going to Hurt – Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

‘The depth of the lows is the price you pay for the height of the highs…’

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I had misgivings about This Is Going to Hurt initially. Firstly, I was worried that because author Adam Kay is a doctor that he might be a bit of a posho and that would bristle a working class hero and man of the people such as myself, particularly as both of Kay’s parents were doctors. Secondly, I haven’t really read a book in diary form since Adrian Mole and I rarely read non-fiction generally so the whole thing felt a bit out of my, admittedly narrow, comfort zone. As ever, dear reader, I was wrong.

This Is Going to Hurt is a non-fiction account of Adam Kay’s horrific but inspirational spell as a junior doctor. Kay recounts appalling events and unimaginable working conditions in a way that is inclusive, relatable and hilarious. His dark sense of humour is vital to the success of his debut work and you can imagine that this helped get him through the 70+ hour working week and lack of recognition that defines the life of a ‘junior’ doctor.

What this book does is make one realise just how ignorant we all are about life as a doctor. This Is Going to Hurt sheds light on the dark corner of the medical profession and helps to render those working within it as actual human beings rather than as the punching bags they are often treated as. That Kay does this without ever coming across as whiny or entitled takes great skill and a humility that combine to make his writing accessible and incredibly compelling.

The book ends on a poignant note and Kay’s message has never been more relevant at a time when the NHS is being continually undermined and destroyed. This is genuinely the type of book that everybody should read. Give it a go while the NHS is still around…

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