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At the heart of general practice since 1960

View from the surgery

From Hetty Kitt to Nessy Parker, the esteemed Dr Moody tells some tall tales about his patients in this collection of anecdotes and essays about general practice

From Hetty Kitt to Nessy Parker, the esteemed Dr Moody tells some tall tales about his patients in this collection of anecdotes and essays about general practice

View from the Surgery is a collection of short essays on life and on the role of the GP.

Never intended, and not really suited, to be read from cover to cover, the hundred assorted chapters are adapted from a weekly newspaper column and Dr Moody is presumably the nom de plume of the book's editor, David Carvel.

Dr Moody's position is a strangely inconsistent one.

Sometimes he is a kindly, old-fashioned, caring GP and I enjoyed meeting his patients and hearing their stories.

Sometimes he is the GP examiner, asking age-old questions such as ‘Should GPs attend their patients' funerals?' or ‘Should GPs accept gifts from their patients?'

On other occasions, he is like a toned-down version of the rabid Dr Tony Copperfield and I wondered who would be interested in these particular articles, though the newspaper column has obviously been a great success.

You can see for yourself if you like his style by visiting Dr Moody's website www.drkenbmoody.co.uk

I wanted to like this book too but, taken as a whole, it left me feeling unsatisfied, which is strange because Carvel is a perfectly competent writer and probably has a good book inside him somewhere just waiting to be written.

As Dr Moody, he adds 20 years to what I guess to be his chronological age and adopts a fictitious persona that makes the views expressed somebody else's.

In the patient-based stories, he also indulges his obvious love of words to create names that fit the subject matter – the polite Mrs Hetty Kitt and the inquisitive Nessy Parker.

Both of these devices make light of and undermine the sincerity of his content, stopping this from being a more thoughtful and satisfying book.

So, put View from the Surgery on the table by your bed for occasional use and watch out for David Carvel if he decides to move on and write something a bit heavier.

Dr James Heathcote

Rating: 3/5

View from the surgery

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