It has been edited slightly to remove reference to the original author, and to include a link to the article he refers to.
On occasion what I have written has got me into trouble.
Over the years I have caused frothing at the mouth among sports physicians, managers, environmentalists and flat earth lefties of all descriptions.
After one article on christianity, I was sent prayers and evangelical paperbacks. I am still getting death threats from midwives as a result of another piece, which frankly, is easier to cope with.
But nothing comes close to the hoo-ha that erupted last year when I called into question the intellectual capabilities of some of our nursing colleagues, and the rigour of their degree course.
The stink was such that there was high level talk of disciplinary action locally, as a result of which I now have to carry a byline, lest I discredit my own fine institution with my insane views.
I would like to assure everyone that I have learnt my lesson, and I will never again question the fact that nurses and doctors are intellectually equivalent, which is why I am having a little bit of trouble with a news item that appeared in the Daily Telegraph to almost no comment.
Under the headline “a third of new nurses fail simple english and maths test” it reported that 13 out of 40 graduates of the nursing course at Canterbury Christ Church University failed to score the required 60% in a test of basic reading and numeracy.
And when they say “basic” they’re not kidding. One question asks: “How many minutes are there in half an hour?” Another is: “A prescription costs 650p, what is this in decimal nomination, 605p, £6.50, £65, £6.05?”
It’s hard to know what to do with this information, other than rush out and set up a pharmacy just for nurses so you can charge them 65 quid for a prescription.
It’s tempting to make cheap cracks about how they were confused because none of the answers were “I’m on my break”.
But as all the graduates were UK educated and have GCSE english and maths, I suspect this is another symptom of the pathetic anti-intellectualism, and the “all-shall-have-prizes” attitude of the government. But that is a different libertarian rant for a different day.
I could of course question the value of a degree course that such poorly educated people can pass, but if I did next month’s byline would read “Dr ............., consultant anaesthetist Western Europe somewhere”. So I won’t.