Tag Archives: general practice

Williams, I. The Bad Doctor



“Cartoonist and doctor Ian Williams takes his stethoscope to Dr Iwan James, a rural GP in need of more than a little care himself. Incontinent old ladies, men with eagle tattoos, traumatised widowers, Iwan’s patients cause him both empathy and dismay, further complicated by his feelings for his practise partners: unrequited longing for Dr Lois Pritchard and frustration at the antics of Dr Robert Smith, who will use any means to make Iwan look bad in his presence. Iwan’s cycling trips with his friend and mentor, Arthur, provide some welcome relief for him.”

Year: 2014
ISBN-10: 1908434287

(spoiler alert)

For a review of the book on the Forbidden Planet blog click here

Helman, C. Suburban Shaman: Tales from Medicine’s Frontline

‘To be a good doctor you have to be a compassionate chameleon, a shape shifter – a shaman. Even if your adaptation to your patients’ world happens at an unconscious level you should always work within their system of ideas, never against it…’ So writes Cecil Helman after 27 years as a family practitioner in the suburbs of North London interlaced with training and research as a medical anthropologist, comparing a wide variety of health systems.

Publisher: Hammersmith Press Limited
Year: 2006
ISBN: 1905140088

Bulgakov, M. A country doctor’s notebook (The notes of a young doctor)

With the ink still wet on his diploma, the twenty-five-year-old Dr Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which, in 1916-17, was still largely unaffected by such novelties as the motor car, the telephone or electric light. How his alter-ego copes (or fails to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone doctor in a vast country practice – on the eve of Revolution – is described in Bulgakov’s delightful blend of candid realism and imaginative exuberance.

Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 2010
ISBN: 0099529564

Berger, J. A fortunate man: the story of a country doctor

In 1966 John Berger spent three months in the Forest of Dean shadowing an English country GP, John Sassall.

Sassall is a fortunate man – his work occupies and fulfils him, he lives amongst the patients he treats, the line between his life and his work is happily blurred.

In A Fortunate Man, Berger’s text and the photography of Jean Mohr reveal with extraordinary intensity the life of a remarkable man. It is a portrait of one selfless individual and the rural community for which he became the hub. Drawing on psychology, biography and medicine A Fortunate Man is a portrait of sacrifice. It is also a profound exploration of what it means to be a doctor, to serve a community and to heal.

Author: Berger, John
Title: A fortunate man: the story of a country doctor
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Year: 1997
ISBN: 067973726X

Viewer Comments:

Comment (Prof John Cookson – HYMS)

Set in the Forest of Dean and a world away from General Practice now.  Some wonderful photographs.  Sadly, the protagonist committed suicide

Cronin, A. The Citadel

This novel by Dr A.J. Cronin (1896-1981) is an excellent entrée into the world of British medicine in the 1920s and `30s, a world in which a character in his 50s can be described as “elderly,” and in which doctors specializing in lung diseases are regularly portrayed cigarette in hand.

Dr Jane Adam HYMS: I have just finished re-reading The Citadel, and it has given me enormous pleasure. I must have been in my early twenties when I first read it, and so – although I thought it was a marvellous read then – I was unaware of just how prophetic it was too, particularly about medical education and training. I also have taken great delight in reading a straightforward and romantic narrative novel (ie a story with a beginning, middle, end); made me realise that these ‘post-modern’ novels are so complex nowadays

Author: Cronin, A.J.
Title: The Citadel
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 1937

 (spoiler alert)

Davies, A. A Very Peculiar Practice

Steven Oliver HYMS: Back before he became synonymous with ‘sexing up’ the Period-Costume-Adaption (Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House…) Andrew Davies wrote this series (apparently as he owed the BBC £17k). Set in a very unusual university health centre its focus was as much on the broader world of higher education, just coming to terms with ‘the market’. It had a slightly surreal aspect to it (an anarchic pair of nuns were a regular feature always up to no good somewhere on the hideous 60’s campus), and very funny. Due a re-evaluation I think as we enter more ‘interesting times’ in the University sector.