This week, junior doctors are on strike because of their rosters (12 days on, or seven nights on; two days off; max 16 hours a day; max 72 hours a week).

ONLY 72 hours a week?

Here we go, soft-bellied millennials whining again. Hey doctors - why don't you prescribe yourselves a chill pill? Boom. You might want to hold that under cold water for 30 seconds - because that was a sick burn.

Here we go, the selfie generation, emoting again, sending out me-me memes, about how their lives are so much harder than everyone's before. Boohoo, diddums, give me my Instagram, not my coronary angiogram. Next we'll be changing the name of stethoscopes because some doctors have a lisp.


I know what you're thinking. Why should we, the public, the taxpayer, have any sympathy for people who are smarter, richer, more hard-working, and generally more socially prestigious than we are?

This is not how public sympathy works. Public sympathy is generally a constant tango between hate and anger. This is why a juicy murder trial in Australia is getting much more coverage than something that concerns our own (whatever) health system.

Here's what I want to know. Why has it taken til 2016, for medical science to decide sleep is important? If this week, doctors are striking about not-enough-sleep, what will they be whining about next week? More bacon? Chocolate?

If sleep is such a big deal, why didn't doctors need it in the past? Furthermore, if sleep is really beneficial, why doesn't Pfizer sell it in a tablet?

Without wishing to turn my own experience into data, I sleep an enormous amount. And trust me, it hasn't turned me into a doctor at all.

Some people say that you wouldn't want a truck driver or an air traffic controller doing shifts like that. Yes, but if they make a mistake, it can disrupt other people's travel plans for ages. That's a huge amount of public stress. If a doctor makes a mistake, well, the good news is you probably won't ever know about it. And ignorance is bliss.

So let's cut to the chase of what these Shortland Street wannabee, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon Doogie Howser Beliebers are really angry about. Competition.
Like all industries, the medical industry has been affected by technology.

Doctors, who don't want to work 72 hours a week, have to compete now with other providers of medical expertise, such as the onternet. Sites like WebMD, or "sponsored post", do the hard yards and show up at work 24 hours a day - if not more.


Modern technology gives you free information, often with gross photos, and there's no need to be in a waiting room.

And that's if you go conventional. If you prefer alternative medicine - or horoscopes, or advice about how much to hate your relatives - there's plenty of second opinions available too, from doctors such as Woman's Day, right through to Woman's Weekly.

So let those doctors protest. We know that Dr Google doesn't sleep at all.

Besides, if doctors genuinely needed sleep, the Government would support them. The Government does good things. This is why the Government is spending a billion on prisons, to add 1800 prison beds. A housing crisis is one thing: what we can't have is a prison crisis.

Prisoners are people you definitely don't want cranky. So it's important to give them beds.

We can't treat prisoners like normal people, and expect them to sleep in cars, or be looked after by some Good Samaritan marae.

Nor can we expect prisoners to sleep in shifts, like workers hot-desking, or doctors. (Although, imagine if you could shorten your prison sentence by just doing nights, and getting time-and-a-half.)

I don't know what to call a billion spent on prisons: is it a correctillion? A crimillion?

Recently, Judith Collins rejected child poverty as a cause of crime. What she should have done next, to prove her point, was to list the names of rich people who are also criminals.

Now that would have won the argument, instead of making her seem uncaring. Instead of the Rich List, there should be the Rich Crim List, where criminals are ranked in descending net worth, or at least, according to how nice their cars are.

The growth in our prison population is a sign the economy is being run well. Construction is good for the economy, and prisons employ a lot of people. If doctors really want sympathy, maybe they should go catch some crims.