Hurley ClinicSo thank you for your concern, and I hope not to need to see you for years to come.
London SE11 4HJ
I am surprised by the tone of your letter of 'the date postmarked'. I have visited the clinic once to register with you as I have recently moved into the area.
I was delighted to discover on registration that I had shrunk about three inches according to your machine and I was classified as obese. If I am obese as a 14 stone 6 footer that might explain why we keep on being told that we are facing an obesity epidemic. I may be carrying a couple of extra pounds than when I was in my twenties, but nothing to worry about. I am many things, but obese I am not.
I am sorry however that it has taken me a few days to respond to your letter,
"Thank you for completing the alcohol assessment as part of patient registration. ('Part of your' or 'part of our' patient registration makes sense, even 'part of the', but 'part of patient registration' is grammatically naked) Having had a look at your answers to the questions, it appears that you may be drinking more than the recommended safe levels of alcohol.but I must be suffering from a hangover of biblical proportions.
Please could you make an appointment to see your GP at your convenience.
Dictated but not signed.
Just to let you know, I have not taken a day of work sick for as long as I can remember (though given I am such a soak that might be the last few days when I come to think about it). I do not sign up to a GP in order to be hectored about what is or what might not be a safe level of drinking. I had the good nature to answer your questions honestly (somewhat unusual I grant you), but I would have thought that you had better things to do than to fire off letters, 'dictated but not signed' to book appointments that would be a waste of both your, and my time.
If I am ill I will get in touch. I do not appreciate this cack-handed attempt at some form of social engineering.
The concept of a 'recommended safe level of alcohol' is a fiction, dreamt up in order to say something when the Royal College of Physicians produced their 1987 Report,
"A Great and Growing Evil: The Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse".
As one of the authors of the report Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal has since commented,
"David Barker was the epidemiologist on the committee and his line was that ‘We don’t really have any decent data whatsoever. It’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t’.
“And other people said, ‘Well, that’s not much use. If somebody comes to see you and says ‘What can I safely drink?’, you can’t say ‘Well, we’ve no evidence. Come back in 20 years and we’ll let you know’. So the feeling was that we ought to come up with something. So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren’t really based on any firm evidence at all. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee.”
Nobody is suggesting that pouring the contents of a brewer's dray down one's throat on a daily basis is a sensible thing to do, and we are all aware of the consequences of gin lane, but trust me on this, I am a grown up and I can make these decisions for myself without the pursing of lips and tut-tutting from the NHS.
Yours truly,I hope I don't get ill