Hamish Blake has apologised to the medical community over a joke he made about general practitioners.
The TV personality and comedian cracked a joke on his Hamish & Andy podcast last week, saying being a GP was the highest-paying job he could probably do with ease for one day.
“I do a lot of Googling medical issues and I have got now 20 years’ experience of going to the GP,” he joked of his credentials.
The 41-year-old said he had the “greatest respect to (the) profession” and said he was not “s****ing on GPs” because they’re “very good and you do need to go to medical school”. So Blake joked he would pass on any serious cases to the emergency departments and other specialists.
On today’s podcast, Blake clarified his comments after receiving a barrage of emails from doctors around the country, some kind and others not so much.
“It seems that last episode’s hypothetical game of ‘What job could you fake your way through for a day’ has upset some people – some GPs, some doctors,” he told co-host Andy Lee.
“I reckon in those instances, you have two choices here: you dig in or you apologise,” he continued. “We love a dig-in on this show – we’ve done a few dig-ins. But in this case, I think it’s a very, very easy choice to apologise because number one, we love doctors and we have zero interest in having people hurt.”
“Yes, we have a laugh but more than that we don’t want to upset people. Here’s how I look at it: they took an oath to do no harm; I broke their oath on them. And for those doctors who heard that and were hurt, I’m very sorry.”
Indeed, the Lego Masters host’s humorous comment also fell flat with general practitioner turned Greens MP Amanda Cohn.
During a session in NSW parliament yesterday, Cohn put Blake on blast for his “punch down on an exhausted, undervalued and essential workforce” that was amid a national shortage.
“The perception that GPs are somehow lesser doctors is widespread,” Dr Cohn told the house, as per The Canberra Times.
“GPs know more about gynaecology than cardiologists, more about cardiology than orthopaedic surgeons, and more about orthopaedics than psychiatrists.”
Other MPs were quick to agree with Dr Cohn, who also said Blake’s comments were “as ridiculous as thinking that being a frequent flyer equips you with the skills to fly an aircraft”.
Dr Cohn said an equally irate rural GP had contacted her to invite Blake to spend a day at her clinic to see how much work it entails to be a general practitioner.
“Everyone thinks they could be a GP. Even father of the year Hamish Blake reckons it’d be a walk in the park: just coughs, colds and referrals. Happy to have you sit in my room and give it a go?” Dr Mariam Tokhi said.
“I’m tired of privileged folks thinking their experience of health system is it.
“Our primary care system is seriously flailing. It’s been underfunded and under-resourced for years. We’re fighting for good, community based care when you need it. Celebrities, politicians, journalists, please stop running us down. Ask for a stronger Medicare. Help us help you.’”