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Publisher's Summary

Winner of a record three National Book Awards: Non-Fiction Book of the Year, New Writer of the Year and Zoe Ball Book Club Book of the Year.

The million-copy best seller. 

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life-and-death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay's This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know - and more than a few things you didn't - about life on and off the hospital ward.

Sunday Times number-one best seller and Humour Book of the Year.

This edition includes extra diary entries and a new afterword by the author. 

©2017 Adam Kay (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

"Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble and entirely loveable." (Stephen Fry)

What listeners say about This Is Going to Hurt

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Not for the prudish but well written/read

DISCLAIMER: If you are at all squeemish about language or such. Don't read this book. The author is a former Obstetrics and Gynaecology doctor so his anecdotes generally relate to the private regions of both genders, birthing, fertility and related activities. His language is... shall we say "colourful" at times.

Having said that, he brings a window into the world of a "junior" doctor and the impact that has on their lives, relationships and mental health, in a fresh and amusing way. I put "junior" doctor in quotation marks because he rises up the ranks with around 6 years clinical experience but "junior" apparently refers to anyone below consultant.

I enjoyed the fact that he used Harry Potter pseudonyms for anonymity and linked them somewhat to the characters. Particularly unpleasant patients or superiors shared names with death eaters, annoying ministry officials took the names of annoying ministry of magic employees, an early tutor was "Professor Flitwick" and Adam's best friend was Ron Weasley.

Most of the book takes a light hearted look, and somewhat sarcastic jab, at the NHS. In fact the book was born out of a comedy act which sought to redress what Adam felt was an unfair portrayal of junior doctors by politicians. However, it ends with quite a serious explanation of his departure and a very clear expression of his feelings about the NHS vs Junior Doctors disputes of 2015/2016. As a teacher in NZ facing similar industrial disputes I found I identified with much of what he was saying in this section. Obviously not the level of consequence/responsibility doctors carry, but many of the other aspects like a workload in compatible with a personal life (although for NHS doctors it's far worse), serious understaffing, underfunding causing issues with patient (or, for us, student) care, the government's blame game, and the stress caused by unfair expectations, to name just a few.

Overall, I felt this was an accurate representation which had the ring of truth. Adam clearly has a gift for comedy and writing as well as the intelligence for medicine.

24 people found this helpful

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10/10 recommend this!

Where does This Is Going to Hurt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

By far one of the most memorable books I have listened to.

What other book might you compare This Is Going to Hurt to, and why?

Eye opening, witty and very raw. The dry and straight faced humor is second to none.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I LOL'ed...and I sat in sad silence.

6 people found this helpful

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Witty, but profound in many ways.

Worth a look at, especially for those who have aspirations of status and medical prestige.

5 people found this helpful

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Laugh out loud funny

Great book
This generation’s House of God
Funny and poignant.
Who would want to be a Dr in the NHS?

4 people found this helpful

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Struggled to finish

Didn't appeal to my sense of humour. Found the story a little dull, but enlightening all the same.

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  • Ian
  • 03-03-2019

One of the best books

This is a great story. Hilarious, fast paced, down to earth and extremely well narrated. Yes there are a few rude words but only necessary ones, like the appropriate name for the ambulance chasing legal firm. But there is a poignant message at the end which should be a wake up call for everyone about the challenges our medical professionals face, and not just under the NHS. I have read a lot of great books on Audible but this is right up there with the best and one that had me laughing so hard.

2 people found this helpful

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Great dinner party stories

Adam Kay would be a fun guest at a dinner party. He offers plenty of laughs about what patients put in their orofices and the funny, rude and outrageous things they say. He also talks about the tough conditions NHS doctors put up with. Most concerning is the extreme sleep deprivation and constant stress that seems to be a daily feature. While his memoirs will make you smile frequently and laugh regularly I think he missed an opportunity to give the issues he raises more substance. Nevertheless there are a number of anecdotes I’ve already repeated to my family.

2 people found this helpful

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So entertaining!

I howled laughing, my mouth hung open in disbelief and I gagged at parts! Perfect!

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic

What a book, gave me goosebumps. Well done, for speaking the truth.

This is a real life, raw and truthfully told. Could not recommend this more to people.

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Tickles your funny bone

A very good book to listen to. The lovely voice of Adam guides you through a riveting insight into the journey of him as a doctor.

Cringeworthy anecdotes at time, to laugh out loud moments and some gasp could that really have happened occasions make it extremely entertaining.

I couldn’t fault any aspect of this book.

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  • siri
  • 29-08-2019

Fun and honest about beeing a doctor

Beeing a medical doctor myself, I was exited about listening to this book. I found myself laughing and crying through the chapters. All the fun stories, the colourful personalities you meet in the hospital (both patients and staff), the fear of mistreating patients and all the extremely long and hard hours of work. It was so recognizable!

I live in Norway and I guess we have both better salary and work hours here, but doctors still work more than any other employee I can think of.

I started my internship married to a resident surgeon. My firstborn was only 1,5 years old at the time. I remember how I sometimes had to leave her with the nurses in the emergency departement because daycare closed and the shift of my husbond ended one hour after mine starded. I was so tired that I sometimes puked in the shower after beeing on dutey. I still feel that it is difficult resting on vacation; I feel that I have somehow lost the touch on how to relax. Still I love my job. It is the most interesting, rewarding and fullfilling job ever! :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Giveaman Amask
  • 17-06-2018

Important and Funny

Mostly it's a lot of funny stories about being a doctor (in the UK), but underneath the funny stuff are some important, deeper stories.

Medicine may be the most admired career, and yet Adam Kay walked away from it. Why?
That's what this book is about. It's about him coming to terms with giving up something he put so much into, and really took over his life, or perhaps ruined his life. It's a cautionary tale, too, about bad government policies that take a situation where physicians will do heroic work for pennies, and wrecking this valuable part of British society.

I really loved this book. It made me want to have the author as a friend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matt Mole
  • 01-03-2022

Utterly fabulous and completely heartbreaking

We’ve known for decades how underfunded and under-appreciated the uk NHS is. This is one doctors story of how the system broke him as it does so many committed staff. At once hilarious and tragic.

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  • Ragnhild
  • 20-02-2022

can you give more than 5 stars?!

I absolutely loved it! I listened to it all in one go. I am an ICU nurse and i know exactly what he means. I too have had moments where my patients wellbeing depended on me or my coworkers staying a few hours extra and taking more shifts. I dont think ive ever felt simultaneously as understood and made aware of just how fucked up the healthcare system is. its no wonder we all have the darkest humour and thrive best with our own kind.

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  • Peter
  • 13-02-2022

for any ear

Ought to be read or heard by any person that uses health systems. I personally am going to propagate it to anyone I know.

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  • GZ
  • 26-05-2021

Laugh out loud funny, poignant and moving

Started this whilst in hospital. Had to park it as the laughing hurt my stitches!

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  • Mustafa Al-Tandi
  • 08-04-2021

Interesting enough to keep listening till the very end

Very interesting book. Funny, informative and interesting... a twist of sad just for good measure.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-03-2021

Hilarious and insightful

This book gives insight into the horrors and humour behind medicine. I would recommend this to any healthcare professional struggling to get their family to understand what they go through on a dailu basis. Also helped me have true introspection into my job and how it's shaped me as a person.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-2021

Great insight on the hardships of NHS

Great insight on the hardships of NHS. Narrated by the author, which could be a little better.

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  • E. D. Saxon
  • 30-12-2020

You'll laugh & you'll cry. Brilliant eye-opener.

I listened to this on my hour release of exercise from lockdown. I laughed a lot at Kay's stories, but shared his frustrations and sadness along the way too. This gave me an insight into the inner workings of the NHS for staff and what we expect from them as patients. It's not good enough to rely on clever people to study medicine for the love of it; we have to support them in their work and to sustain the entire system for public benefit. hlHighly recommended.

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  • rachch
  • 20-09-2017

Heartbreaking and hilarious!

I hardly ever write reviews but this is such a great audiobook I had to! I've seen Adam perform his music live several times and love his dry sense of humour but this book is on another level - but gave me more to think about afterwards than I expected. Excellent as an audiobook read by him.

51 people found this helpful

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  • The_Animagus
  • 23-09-2017

Well written, Well told

Birth, death, and all the dirty stuff in between, Adam has written a fascinating account of being a Junior Doctor and beyond. In addition he tells his tales with the smoothness of a stage performer.
What's more, I'm a vet, and it's nice to know other medical professions get the same problems as we have. But nationalised, and with the health of the country on their shoulders.
Gods bless this NHS

114 people found this helpful

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  • Dumsey
  • 12-09-2017

Brilliant!

The best book I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Adam Kay made me both howl with laughter and cry with sorrow. His writing is eloquent and his reading of the book is brilliant. I highly recommend it to everyone, Fellow NHS staff will empathise with him and his struggles. Non NHS staff should listen to it for an insight into a truly unique world.

72 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 11-09-2017

Life is for enjoying not enduring.

If you could sum up This Is Going to Hurt in three words, what would they be?

Doctors need support.

What did you like best about this story?

The amount I learned.

What does Adam Kay bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Feeling.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me feel deeply for all those people who give their all for so little monetary return having to rely on their inner mental and emotional strength.

Any additional comments?

A must read that enables you help those who are helping you.

66 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 26-11-2017

Shocking, emotional, funny insight

I was expecting the job to be hard, but nothing like this. I hope this book can help change many perspectives on what a life of a doctor really is.
Great book, would definitely buy a part two even if it was the more mundane.

23 people found this helpful

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  • P Mac
  • 09-11-2017

A must listen

A compelling book. Interesting, eye opening, funny, sad, awe inspiring and well presented in audiobook by the author. A must listen in my humble opinion.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Jane
  • 10-10-2017

Loved my first audio book! Highly recommend.

So interesting to hear the real nitty gritty details about the life as a junior doctor. It was very well written; hilarious throughout, but littered with sad and poignant moments that clearly stayed with the author. The author is also the narrator. He leads you through the NHS minefield he traveled through, which allowed him to become a life saving, baby delivering, object-in-orifice removing doctor. He demolishes the convenient public image Jeremy Hunt wants to paint of a finely oiled machine being ruined by greedy doctors, with pragmatism and common sense very early on. Highlighting many flaws in how things are done.
One of the most thought provoking and striking things about this book is how grossly overworked, woefully underpaid and severely underappreciated he and that of his peers are, that frankly their treatment boarders on abuse (and that was 6 years ago). Most people would never settle for their employer treating them this way, yet junior doctors have very little choice and an even smaller chance to petition for change. It also highlights just how much junior doctors sacrifice in their own lives for the sake of their patients. Our NHS is literally running on overwhelming compassion and selflessness.
Thank you Adam Kay for trying to open the eyes of the health secretary, and for making me laugh whilst doing it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 21-12-2017

Echoes what is happening in education too

Thanks for sharing this funny but heartbreaking tale of the issues leading up to the brain drain from the NHS and it’s ultimate privatisation. Wish you all the best in your new career but wish you’d been able to use your talents as a doctor as your empathy and emotional intelligence shine through the book.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Dr Marianne Ross
  • 04-11-2017

Loved it

Should make all friends and family of medics listen to it. Cathartic, made me want to cry at times

17 people found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 29-11-2017

A wonderful raconteur.

Probably not a good read if you are in the midst of pregnancy. But overall great anecdotes, not too ranty when it comes to the challenges of the NHS, incredibly funny in places and make you remember there’s nought so queer as folk.

23 people found this helpful

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