Healthcare Around the World

Hospital doctors in the UK and India

The authors are two aspiring medics who have experienced life at hospital wards in India and the UK. Afterwards, they exchanged stories. Now they share them with you.


‘After spending a week at the paediatrics ward in an Indian hospital, I can safely say that there was never a moment of silence. Noisy, however, isn’t the right word to describe it. I would use ‘busy’. Paediatrics may sound like a small field, dealing with just child patients ranging from newly born to thirteen years old. However, the range of cases that children present make the field so vast that all of medicine must be at a doctor’s fingertips. In just one week, I have seen numerous patients with dengue fever, kidney stones, high blood pressure, anaemia and also one who had experienced seizures. Because of this range, an element of teamwork was necessary between the different wards. I had the privilege of accompanying a child going for an MRI scan and also witnessed the scan and the process of deducing an MRI report myself.

‘Quiet doesn’t exist in the Dictionary at Meenakshi Mission hospital.’  – Vikram Ajit Rajan Thirupathirajan

‘Throughout my experience, I was with a few junior doctors. Each day presented the same jobs but by no means the same cases. First on their list was the updating of patient records by going on ward rounds and examining patients. After this, one might think that they had time to relax. I disagree, for they then spent their time updating the patient records in detail and handing them to nurses for filing away whilst talking joyfully about matters outside of the hospital. After this, the doctors remained busy learning more about the field of paediatric medicine and treatment. Books were handy for this. Soon, the consultant arrived to do his ward rounds. Using the live patient cases at the ward, he doubled up his rounds as lessons for the juniors – an effective teaching method.’

United Kingdom

‘I have spent roughly sixty hours in the hospital since June last year, most of this time in the Surgical Assessment Unit where I have had the fantastic opportunity to meet patients before and after their surgery – some even during their surgery! I’ve seen approximately twenty operations ranging from a routine appendectomy (removal of the appendix, in this case because of appendicitis) all the way to an open scrotal exploration; yes, you did read that correctly. One thing that strikes me every time I’m in the hospital is the sheer volume of patients that enter and leave day by day. It seems almost never-ending.

‘Never a dull moment at Derriford’ – Harry Ferguson

‘A lot of my time has been spent with junior doctors either in their first or second year in the role. From what I have seen, these doctors are on their toes every minute of the day and rarely have a moment to sit back and relax – even when they’re not seeing patients, they’re filling in vital paperwork or advising nurses! After their second year as junior doctors, they will be able to choose an area of medicine that they would like to specialise in, be it medical or surgical. The time spent specialising depends on the branch of medicine the junior doctor decides to join. Once specialised, there is the opportunity to become a consultant.

‘Many of my hours were also spent with Dr. Anthony Lambert, who is a consultant specialising in general surgery. It was with him that I observed operations. His day is very different to that of a junior doctor, as he spends much of his time teaching as well as operating. Teaching is a key part of a consultant’s day as it is his responsibility to pass on his experience and knowledge to other members in the hospital.

‘During our time in the hospitals we’ve gained priceless experiences. We’ve both learned that our experiences were different in terms of exactly what we witnessed, but the same in terms of what we saw the doctors do. But we’d both say that the most important thing we’ve learnt is that hospitals, regardless of which country they are in, are like well-oiled machines. Everyone, at every level, has his own responsibilities and it is the teamwork and communication between staff that ensures the hospital runs as smoothly and successfully as it does.’


by Vikram Ajit Rajan Thirupathirajan and Harry Ferguson

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