A call for convalescence

In the British Medical Journal (subscription required) Dalrymple reviews a book called How to Be Idle, agreeing with the concept…

In theory I am in favour of idleness, for without it there can be no contemplation, and without contemplation there can be no wisdom.

…while disagreeing with one of the author’s prescriptions:
“We need more idler-friendly doctors,” the author says. “Instead of prescribing drugs and trying to blitz illness in the shortest possible period of time, they would order their patients to take long periods off work. Three days would be the minimum; but they could prescribe a rest cure of up to two months.”
Here, I am afraid, the author, whose book was published in 2004, displays an unawareness that doctors were already prescribing very long periods off work, or at least setting their seal of approval upon such periods. In that year, 2.7 million people were claiming incapacity benefit, half a million more than were injured in the first world war, and four times as many as were claiming its equivalent in the mid-1970s. Surely the health of the population had not declined so drastically in the meantime?

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