Dr Phil Hammond, GP, lecturer and presenter of the BBC2 programme Trust Me, I'm a Doctor

How many of us would actually get off our arses and forsake a hot bath, a can of Stella and a good book for a draughty side-room, a warm sherry and the Red Book?

Not long before the GMC nominations were due in, I was approached by a senior member of the medical establishment. He put me in a friendly half-nelson and asked if I would consider standing for election.

Having spent most of my life on the outside of the tent pissing in, I was now being offered the chance to join him in the tent. Full of piss! What a mouthwatering offer!

I do, however, believe that the only way to change the system is from the inside.

And even though I can't imagine anyone wanting to vote for me, I agreed to stand on condition that he was fully conversant with my medical history.

I would hate to gain high office and then cause embarrassment to those who have worked very hard to get where they are today. So I gave it to him straight.

As a medical student, I was once caught peeing in a fire bucket on Waterloo station.

I (and several colleagues) also took a mutilated ox's head (called Sheila) and assorted pathology specimens from the museum (including cancer of the vulva and penis) on rugby tour to Yorkshire as touchline mascots.

I caused the Dean of St Thomas' and his wife to storm out of the bar after a particularly fine rendition of the Australian classic 'Hey Santa Claus You *u*t, Where's me *u**ing Bike'.

And I did something unspeakable in a colleague's hat on the ferry to Amsterdam.

Then there was the lard-eating competition and famous game of bladder tennis (you know, when you catheterise each other, join it in the middle and pee into each other's bladders), and the flushing through of the Venflon with potassium by mistake, the misappropriation of NHS cutlery and furniture, the flaming A's, the sticky biscuit and the bleep roulette.

Admittedly, this was all a long time ago and I can offer no defence – I was just another student at a top London medical school and it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Boyish high spirits and all that.

Alas, there are plenty of old photos knocking about that testify to the truth of all this, and if I ever stood for anything sensible they'd be on the front page of the Daily Star in a jiffy.

The senior GMC member looked particularly crestfallen at this news and agreed that, on balance, I probably shouldn't stand for election to the GMC Council.

Please cut this column out and send it to the tabloids if I ever change my mind.

PS If your past behaviour debars you from high office, I'd love to hear about it. Maybe we can start up a club – The Royal College of Bladder Tennis. Join now at Phil_Hammond@msn.com.

Guidelines in Practice, July 2000, Volume 3
© 2000 MGP Ltd
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