Monday, 14 March 2011
Confessions of a GP by Dr Benjamin Daniels
Synopsis: "Dr Benjamin Daniels" (real identity protected) writes about the day to day life of being a GP, some of his more challenging/funny patients and also how the healthcare system looks from the point of view of the people that actually work in it.
This book was a light, fun read. The chapters were nice and short and chapters about specific patients were interspersed with chapters about the NHS or medical issues, making it very easy to read. Some of the patient tales were funny - I liked the women telling the doctor about her sex dreams featuring Tom Jones - but in other chapters Daniels found some humour in issues such as depression and deprivation.
It was particularly interesting for me as most of the book was about his experiences working in a deprived inner-city area. I teach in a similar kind of area and deal with the exact same issues, albeit from an educational perspective. Daniels may get patients who have tried every anti-depressant on the market but still can't organise their lives; I'm getting the same people as parents who can't get their children to school on time or provide basic essentials/return letters. I don't know what the cure is, but it was comforting to know that us teachers aren't the only ones who struggle with that sort of thing.
The chapters about the NHS were interesting too. I am a big defender of our public health care system free at the point of use but I do recognise that it does put pressure on doctors to manage budgets. But then, maybe it's a good thing for doctors to prescribe generic drugs rather than be in the pocket of drug companies? The issue of sick-notes was interesting too - at which point do you become ill enough to not be able to work? And is it the same for everyone?
Verdict: Good light read.
Score: 3.5 out of 5