Published: 16/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5936 Page 32
I am very glad I am not a woman. Or a doctor. Most of the awful things that can happen to women and doctors in hospitals happen in the six episodes of Bodies (BBC2, Wednesdays, 9pm). It definitely put me off being either.
There is this dodgy consultant who's good at research, dead eminent and brings in loads of money for the hospital. But he's not much cop in theatres, and there is lots of damage to patients, including dead babies. All his colleagues know it. The anaesthetist raises concerns, but can't get heard; everyone covers up and nothing happens.
Sound familiar? Those of us who worked or reviewed for the Commission for Health Improvement will recognise many of the scenarios.
This is the thinking manager's Holby City, written by Jed Mercurio, who was a hospital doctor in the Midlands before joining the glitterati and writing The Grimleys and Cardiac Arrest.
To balance the full-frontal malpractice, There is some noisy, noholds-barred sex. I watched it behind closed doors and got some funny looks from the kids afterwards.
The specialty is obs and gynae, so the whole thing is a bit below the belt. The title starts off with footage of egg and sperm, so you know what's coming. As a debate-starter, It is definitely worth a look. A good learning set could take the series and pick off the 'seven pillars' of clinical governance one-by-one.
Later episodes are massively overwritten - there are so many breaches of CG and the managers are so awful that it starts to lose credibility.
There are loads of loose ends after the final episode, so the second series, due next year, was inevitable.
In the meantime, I've learned lots of new nasties - placental abruption, cricothyrotomy, and so on, seen lots of blood and bits and pieces, and lived and died with doctors' guilt. It doesn't make for a good night's sleep. It just makes me glad I am male and non-clinical.
Steve Collins is head of strategy at Surrey and Sussex hospital trust.