Does your doctor really care about you? Do you have time to care about your patients in the middle of all the red tape? Can we claw back tender, loving healthcare before losing sight of what it is?
The medical machine is spinning out of control. Making the NHS better is about people, not about politics and posturing. It’s about recognising that, well or ill, we’re in it together.
Being promised we’ll be able to choose our hospital tomorrow is cold comfort when fighting to see a doctor today. From the pitfalls of communication to waiting lists, MMR to MRSA, this book discusses things we know of but may know little about; the ins and outs, drivers and obstacles, to treating each other well. The first half is a novel, an engaging story set across doctors’ surgeries, cafes, pubs and homes. A story about a woman with a neurological illness who also has depression, her conscientious consultant who worries too much about everything while his GP wife anguishes over MMR, an oncologist with terminal cancer, a hospital manager with a heart, even a love-life. A series of accessible, informative essays then explores the ‘big issues’ that beset the NHS today, from the political football of choice, to jargon, mistakes and superbugs.
Essential and enjoyable reading for anyone who uses or works in healthcare, this book argues that it can be rescued, become human again, if we all help.
Table of Contents
Introduction, There's hope, Both sides of the story, Injecting humanity, Communicating care, Too busy to care? Part One The main characters, The way it is, Men at the top, Even men at the top, Red tape and sticking plaster, Better than cure? Common ground, Just nonsense, Buyer beware, Family matters, What goes around, Part Two: a glossary, of sorts, Choice, Clinical trials (see Testing treatments), Communication, Copying letters, Drug trials (see Testing treatments), Error (see Medical error), Evidence-based medicine, Expert patients, Jargon, Language (see Communication; Jargon), Managers, Medical error (also known as Swiss cheese . . . ), MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine), Money, MRS A (see Superbugs), Obesity, Postcode care, Prevention, Private medicine, Rationing (see Choice; Postcode care), Regulation, Star ratings (see Targets), Superbugs, Targets, Testing treatments, Trusts, Waiting, Working hours, Postscript: a sting in the tale.
Sophie Petit-Zeman migrated from research in neuroscience and mental health to communications and journalism, focusing on science, medicine and social care. An award-winning writer, at times patient and carer, she has also worked in the NHS, private and voluntary sectors, in the UK and abroad. Sophie is a council member of the Brain and Spine Foundation and, after completing this book, was appointed Director of Public Dialogue at the Association of Medical Research Charities
'This book takes the conversations we’re all having about the NHS and goes the next step. Reading it is like being at a really good dinner party.'
'A brilliant device – mixing fiction and fact – this book really works.'
'It made me laugh, cry and think, so it did what it’s supposed to.'