A Christmas Carol redux
Posted on 21 December 2012 by Charles Lamb
Dear Mr Chancellor
My mum thinks I should write to apologise for calling you a miserable rogue. Apparently, it’s not all your fault after all, and you were only trying to do your best. That’s what my English teacher wrote on my end of term report, so I know how bad you must have been. I’m not sure if I said you were miserable, but I’m very sorry if I did.
This week, as it’s getting close to Christmas, my dad thought I should read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to broaden my mind. I thought the story was very good, but obviously not as good as the original film starring the Muppets.
I liked Tiny Tim best. He was very sick and obviously needed a doctor but the health service hadn’t been invented.
His dad worked for a miserable man called Mr Scrooge who was some sort of chancellor who treated his workers very badly. He even made them work on bank holidays and on-call on their children’s birthdays and at Christmas. He also stole their pensions and made them pay loads of taxes so that he could be very rich.
Mr Cratchit was very important to Scrooge’s organisation, but didn’t get any credit for the difficult job he did, and was never home in time for tea. Luckily, Scrooge was afraid of ghosts and was visited by his old partner, who I think was called Lansley.
Lansley’s head was covered in bandages so Scrooge mistook him for someone else called Hunt. Old Lansley didn’t listen to what people said, and made a mess of his communication strategy. This made people very angry with him, and stopped him handing the health service over to his friends from the private sector who had given him loads of cash.
One by one, the ghosts visited Scrooge’s house. One from Christmas past, called Darling, warned Scrooge that if he didn’t change his ways his eyebrows wouldn’t match his hair colour any more. He made Scrooge realise he would have to change his fiscal policy, otherwise he would end up covered in soiled bandages too.
Eventually, Scrooge stopped being so miserable and started treating Bob Cratchit properly, restoring his accrued pension rights. This made the health service so much better that Scrooge even became friends with Cratchit.
Then someone arranged for Tiny Tim to be seen by the out-of-hours doctor, who referred him to the emergency department. Luckily, with the four-hour access target fully implemented, he didn’t have too long to wait before a happy doctor was able to make him better.
Tim and everyone else lived happily ever after, and Mr Dickens was able to sell their story to a prestigious representative body, who then used it to fill a space on its website.
Charles Lamb is a consultant in emergency medicine