Reviewed by Dr Harry Brown
Chantal Simon, Hazel Everitt, Francoise van Dorp and Matt Burkes
4th Edition published 2014
I was once speaking to a non medical healthcare professional who said that he felt sorry for GPs (yes it does happen sometimes!) as it can sometimes be a lonely job when there is so much to know and do. Of course we can’t know it all, even if you have loads of experience and sometimes it is good to ask someone else. In addition, you can also look up the Oxford Handbook of General Practice which covers an amazing breadth of relevant topics.
I have used previous editions and this new edition retains its brilliant usefulness. There are 1157 pages and it covers all spheres of general practice and is ideal when a GP is stuck for an answer when the patient is in front of them or a consultation is imminent. Of course it can’t cover everything, I would doubt if any single book could do that but like a GP, this is a good all rounder which will solve a significant majority of problems that is thrown at it. Needless to say it is pitched at the level which is ideal for GPs. As it says at the top of the book front cover “written by GPs for GPs”.
Despite the fact the book is so broad in its coverage; critically the book is still portable and not a tome. It can occupy a small bit of real estate on a desk or inside a bag. With its vinyl cover it is also built to withstand a fair amount of use-which this book deserves. I would say it is ideal for practicing GPs, GP registrars and practice nurses and other primary care professionals. It is ideal for quickly looking up a topic and quickly getting up to speed on what to do next. Of course it is a British book and specifically for UK GPs and is fresh and up to date being published this year (2014). Interestingly this is the 4th edition in 12 years which sums up the huge pace of change we see in general practice and that includes, clinical, administrative and contractual.
I can’t even complain about the price of the book-it is keenly priced and represents very good value for money. If I had a gripe then I would want web, mobile and app versions ideally bundled in with the price of the book. I think people would even be prepared a slight premium for such a bundle. However others would be very happy to just have this book on their desk or in their bag, without the need for electronic counterparts.
This book is ideal for a quick review and wanting the basics of what to do next when dealing with a patient. If you want huge details then you will need to go elsewhere, this is for someone in the frontline who wants a friend to help them. This book is their friend.
Dr Harry Brown