4th Edition Published 2015
Drew Provan, Trevor Baglin, Inderjeet Dokal and Johannes de Vos
Published by Oxford University Press
Price £34.99 http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199683307.do
This new edition follows the tradition of the highly respected Oxford medical handbook series which is a compact, well produced book brimming with knowledge that will help the clinician in a large number of situations when dealing with a relevant patient problem. This book runs to more than 800 pages and is certainly more than a simple handbook but less than a detailed textbook. It occupies that healthy middle ground where it is portable, accessible and built to last with its sturdy vinyl covers. However there is a lot of pertinent information here which is of use to both a GP and specialist audience. Like many others in the Oxford medical handbook series, it is a practical and very useful supplier of information and knowledge. As well as helping solve a clinical problem for a frontline clinician, it is also ideally suited for a reader to quickly dip in and read around a topic quickly resulting in an improvement in the user’s knowledge base.
Haematology is integral to many medical disciplines, how many of you have asked for a full blood count? I guess the vast majority of clinicians will fall into this category. This book gives the user confidence to deal with almost any eventuality from the results of a full blood count and substantially more. As a GP, I referred to this book often during the review period and it very rarely let me down. In the style of other Oxford medical handbooks, the text is always readable, accessible and since this is a new edition (published in 2015) very up-to-date. Again, similar to its other siblings in the Oxford medical handbooks stable, there is very little superfluous text with short paragraphs and extensive use of lists which again allows the user easy access.
Despite its handbook title, this book is pretty comprehensive and I would suspect that non-haematologists would be happy to have this book as a sole haematology reference source. Its compactness, allows it to be kept on a desk in an outpatient clinic or on a GPs desk where it is available for quick access. It represents excellent value for money and deserves its place amongst other illustrious Oxford medical handbooks. It is ideal for many postgraduates and if I have a criticism, it is not of the book itself. I would prefer for a modest increase in the purchase price, to have access to an e-book edition either online or better still as an app on a smart phone or tablet device.
There is a lot that a user can learn from this book and I am sure it will do very well and be warmly received. Don’t forget to look at the end of the book as it has some excellent additional chapters. These include chapter 16 with the most useful section on haematological investigations. Rare diseases get a mention in a separate chapter whilst appendix 1 has a list of some very useful Internet-based resources.
All in all, this is an excellent good value book that will help frontline clinicians in dealing with a patient’s haematology problems. It lives up to the standards set by other excellent books in the Oxford medical handbook series.
Dr Harry Brown