1st Edition

Turning Tyrants into Tools in Health Practice The Integrated Practitioner

By Justin Amery Copyright 2014

    'In order to provide integrated healthcare, we need to integrate a huge number of...entities. Each one of these entities can be a useful tool for our practice. To be effective practitioners, we hope to gain some mastery of them. But sometimes we feel as if they have mastery of us. There are days when we feel on top of our game, we keep to time, we know instantly what's wrong, the right treatment is immediately to hand, our colleagues are supportive and helpful, and birdsong drifts through our open summer window. Then there are the other days...' Justin Amery This extraordinary new series fills a void in practitioner development and well-being. The books take a reflective step back from the tick-box, target-driven and increasingly regulated world of 21st century health practice; and invite us to revisit what health and health practice actually are. Building carefully on the science and philosophy of health, each book addresses the messy, complex and often chaotic world of real-life health practice and offers an ancient but now almost revolutionary understanding for students and experienced practitioners alike: that health practice is a fundamentally creative and compassionate activity. The series as a whole helps practitioners to redefine and recreate their daily practice, in ways that are healthier for both patients and practitioners. The books provide a welcome antidote to demoralisation and burn-out amongst practitioners, reversing cynicism and reviving our feeling of pride in, and our understanding of, health practice. By observing practice life through different lenses, they encourage the development of efficiency, effectiveness and, above all, satisfaction. The third book in the series, The Integrated Practitioner: Turning Tyrants into Tools in Health Practice explores the relationship between practitioners and their tangible, external tools such as time, computers, money, information, colleagues, equipment, targets and office spaces, along with less tangible elements like knowledge, understanding, language, values and beliefs. These tools can be of great benefit when fully integrated and balanced but they often end up controlling practitioners, dictating the manner in which the practice operates and ultimately reducing efficacy. It suggests ways for practitioners to harness the positive forces of these tools and regain control. Brilliantly written, practitioners, students and trainees and GP trainers will find the enlightening, witty, conversational style a joy to read.

    Chapter 1: the perspective of 'other'. Chapter 2: health knowledge. Chapter 3: health beliefs. Chapter 4: information and guidelines. Chapter 5: time and resources. Chapter 6:  regulations and targets. Chapter 7: organisations and teams. Chapter 8: space and the environment. Chapter 9: 'effectiveness'. Conclusion: integrated harmonic balance with the other. Bibliography. End notes.


    I am a full- time practising family practitioner and children's palliative care specialist doctor working in the UK. I have also spent some years working in Uganda and other sub- Saharan African countries. I enjoy teaching, writing and mentoring. I am a medical student tutor at the University of Oxford, a trainer in general practice, and I have designed and set up children's palliative care courses for health professionals in the UK and Africa. I have worked with 'failing practices' to help them turn round; and also with health professionals who are struggling (as we all do from time to time). I have always had an interest in philosophy and spirituality, and have studied this at postgraduate level. I have carried out some research into education and training of health professionals around the world and I continue to explore that interest. I have previously written two books: Children's Palliative Care in Africa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) and the Association for Children's Palliative Care (ACT) Handbook of Children's Palliative Care for GPs (Bristol: ACT, 2011). I particularly enjoy reading and writing poetry. At heart, though, I am a practitioner and a generalist. What is more, as you can probably see, I am rather a jack of all trades, and a master of none. I have been motivated to write this book as I am hoping to explore practical ways of practising health that help us all, patients and practitioners alike, to become a little more healthy, and a little more whole.