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The Secret Codes Doctors Use To Talk About You

Sponsored by BBC iPlayer
Sponsored by BBC iPlayer
The Secret Codes Doctors Use To Talk About You

Featured Image Credit: This Is Going To Hurt: BBC iPlayer

Ever wondered what doctors really think of you? Well, it turns out they’ve got their own hilarious secret shorthand for talking about us behind our backs.

To celebrate the launch of the new BBC medical comedy-drama This Is Going To Hurt, we’ve collected some of the codes and phrases that UK doctors use to poke a little fun at our expense. 

Now, we’re not saying that the NHS gives out an official code book to everyone on their first day, but it’s good to know that frontline staff have come up with fun ways to deal with their stressful day-to-day. And they only seem to have these funny phrases for some of the less serious cases they see.

BBC iPlayer: This Is Going To HurtBBC iPlayer: This Is Going To Hurt

Let’s look at some of the ingenious phrases they’ve come up with.


If you ever find yourself in A&E at 3.00am after a night out drinking, you might want to listen out for doctors and nurses referring to you as a P.A.F.O. It’s code for drunk patients who’ve injured themselves because they’re ‘pissed and fell over.’ Basically, most people in A&E at the weekend!

If you are a P.A.F.O you might also find yourself with a U.B.I – an unexplained beer injury…

Eiffel Tower Syndrome

You know those stories you read about people 'accidentally' getting weird things stuck in places they shouldn’t that you never ever believe? Well it turns out healthcare staff often don’t believe them either. These people, who insist they slipped and fell and somehow found themselves with a foreign object up the bum, are known as having Eiffel Tower Syndrome. Why? Because of their repeated proclamations of 'I fell, I fell!' Very fitting.

BBC iPlayer: This Is Going To Hurt
BBC iPlayer: This Is Going To Hurt


Be warned, if you’re someone that likes to complain and moan a lot, doctors are likely to diagnose you with 'whinorrhea'. So you might want to think twice before bugging the busy doctors and nurses over trivial matters.

Review Mrs BuckStar

And finally, if you’ve ever heard a call over the hospital tannoy for someone to ‘Review Mrs BuckStar’, well that just means 'Go to Starbucks'. Hey, after a 97-hour work week, wouldn’t you need a caffeine boost?

BBC iPlayer: This Is Going To Hurt
BBC iPlayer: This Is Going To Hurt

This Is Going To Hurt is an adaptation of the bestselling memoir of the same name by Adam Kay, a former junior doctor in the NHS. It tells the unvarnished truth of life as a junior doctor: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, the constant tsunami of bodily fluids and the fact that the hospital car park earns more than you. 

All episodes are available now on BBC iPlayer.

Sponsored by: BBC iPlayer

Topics: Film & TV, BBC, NHS

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