It is not surprising that the book is so amusing. Kay, who attended Dulwich College and whose father was also a doctor, performed comedy with musical group Amateur Transplants throughout his time studying at the Imperial College School of Medicine. Amateur Transplants are the ones responsible for The London Underground Song, that immensely popular parody of The Jam’s Going Underground, which features the lyrics, “Where the f–k’s my f–king train? London Underground/ They’re all lazy, f–king, useless c–ts, London Underground.”
And since Kay, who now lives in Chiswick with his boyfriend, the television producer James Farrell, quit being a doctor in 2010 (more of which later), he has toured a series of stand-up shows and has writing credits on television programmes, including Mitchell and Webb, Mrs Brown’s Boys and the new Jack Whitehall series Bounty Hunters.
But for all the laughs in This is Going to Hurt, the book is also a devastating account of our National Health Service. It is a tale of brutal hours, poor pay, and a crippling shortage of staff (chaos basically), all brought about, Kay argues, by a lack of government funding. “It’s just a fact that the money has, you know, disappeared,” he says.
Kay decided to dig out his old diaries and write This is Going to Hurt after the 2016 junior doctors’ strike over the proposed introduction of a seven-day NHS service. Kay felt that junior doctors were being unfairly maligned by the government and the press.