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Book review: Doctors Dissected by Jane Haynes and Dr Martin Scurr

Psychotherapist Jane Haynes and popular medical columnist GP Dr Martin Scurr have created a excellent book that provides an insight into the innermost thoughts of doctors, both in and out of work.

Through a series of question and answer interviews, doctors reveal their vulnerabilities, attitudes and approach to the pressures of modern-day medicine, a refreshing and encouraging reminder that we are not alone.

We hear Cosmo (Dr Scurr’s trainee anaesthetist son) assert that he does not want to become a consultant in A&E as he would often not be providing the emergency medicine for which he is trained, instead giving ‘out-of-hours’ care for the more minor illnesses that used to be seen by GPs. This seems controversial but almost certainly true.

However, while the authors hail continuity and consistency of care as the answer to some of the difficulties facing the NHS, the book offers no concrete solutions for achieving this.

And while there is some exploration into the impact of the changing political climate of medicine, the book doesn’t probe deep enough into this subject to form any conclusions.

Nevertheless, though the interview style makes for less straightforward reading than prose, it gives the reader the impression of doctors being ‘examined’ on the psychotherapist’s couch and provides an unusual and unexpected view from the other side. Riveting and thought-provoking.

Dr Natalie Smith is a GP in Battersea, south west London.