With apologies to Monty Python, Duncan Burns, GP describes their Medical Centre Assistant role

The interior of Avon Medical Centre. A darkened room with a very conspiratorial atmosphere. Meeting of The Peoples Front of Avon. Bill and Brian are seated at a table at one end of the room. Duncan, dressed in Activist gear — black robes and a red sash around his head — is standing by a plan on the wall. He is addressing an audience of about eight masked Activists. Their faces are partially hidden.

Brian (GP):

We get in through the underground heating system here… up through to the main audience chamber here… and Jo’s room is here. Having grabbed her, we inform Karen that Jo is in our custody and forthwith issue our demands. Any questions?

Karen (Practice Manager):

What exactly are the demands?

Duncan (GP):

We’re giving Jo two days to dismantle the entire apparatus of the Medical Centre Assistant role and if she doesn’t agree immediately we remove her.


Cut her computer off?

Bill (GP):

Cut all her electronic databits off, send ’em back every hour on the hour… show her we’re not to be trifled with.


Also, we’re demanding a ten foot mahogany statue of the Emperor Mark Taylor along with his collection of McDonalds trade cards.


What? They’ll never agree to that, Duncan.


That’s just a bargaining counter. And of course, we point out that they bear full responsibility when we chop her data off, and… that we shall not submit to blackmail.


(Applause) No blackmail!


The MCAs have taken everything we had, not just from us but also from our nurses.


And from us, our nurses, and from our reception crew.




And from us, our nurses, our reception crew and all of our managerial and administration team.


Yes, all right, Bill. Don’t labour the point. And what have MCAs ever given us in return?

Kirsten (Practice Nurse):

The well organized stock control.


Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That’s true.

Masked Activist (Shirley Practice Nurse):

And the fishing for smoking and smear data before appointments!


Oh yes… the fishing, Duncan, you remember what the practice used to be like.


All right, I’ll grant you that the stock control and the fishing are two things that the MCAs have done…

Kim (Practice Nurse):

And the chaperoning…


(sharply) Well yes obviously the chaperoning… the chaperoning goes without saying. But apart from the stock control, fishing and chaperoning…

Other Masked Voices (Jackelien, Nick, Elaine and Lara):

Urinalysis… Patient recalls… ECGs…


Yes… all right, fair enough…

Donna (Practice Nurse):

And the team bonding in huddles…


Oh yes! True!

Vic (Practice Nurse:

Yeah. That’s something we’d really miss if the MCAs left, Duncan.

Masked Receptionists at Back (Sandra and Trudy):

Public involvement in ManageMyHealth!


And we’re hitting far more targets now.


Yes, the MCAs certainly know how to keep order… (general nodding)… let’s face it, they’re the only ones who could in a place like this.

(more general murmurs of agreement)


All right… all right… but apart from better stock-controlling, fishing, chaperoning, patient recalls, ECGs, running of the huddles, patient participation in ManageMy Health… what have the MCAs ever done for us?

Diane (Administrator):

Brought peace!


(very angry, he’s not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh… (scornfully) Peace, yes… shut up!