One wonders if Jeremy Hunt might send an incognito aide to see this show. If so, the awkward stooge should be easy to spot. This being an onstage revolution, there’s an awful lot of chanting – a hefty chunk of it directed at the health secretary. Although the rhyming couplets are more creative than you might expect.
If you weren’t particularly worried about the future of our healthcare system before this show, you definitely will be by the end of it. Practising doctor and popular comedian, journalist, radio presenter and medical sitcom-writer Dr Phil Hammond has been a high-profile campaigner since his junior doctor days in the early 1990s. But the NHS now faces its biggest crisis since then, hence this, his first return to Edinburgh in five years, and a passionate call for action.
In truth, most of his audience are on board already. Lots of health workers are in, and the constant chuntering of approval give this the feel of a rally as much as a show. Hammond is a fine rabble rouser—aided by guest Dr Margaret McCartney, who reveals some troubling stats about NHS wastage—and, unlike most politicians, he remains impressively positive throughout, despite the weighty issues.
To keep things light Hammond utilises slogan T-shirts, children’s toys, handy acronyms, those chants and singalongs; there’s even a nice shout-out to lefty children’s TV genius Oliver Postgate, whose '60s show The Clangers surreptitiously suggested a more caring model for a modern utopia. The perfect health secretary if that ideal world ever happens? Dr Phil Hammond.