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Michael Dixon’s Time to Heal: Tales of a Country Doctor is a timely, spirited call-to-action to restore “humanity to medicine”, and comes highly recommended for readers who like autobiographies with bite, and for those interested in discovering what it’s really like to be a present-day GP - warts and all. Moreover, one hopes that it might also serve as a wider wake-up call - “every society should be judged by what it does for its weakest. We are one of the world’s wealthiest nations,” is not a statement to be ignored.
The early chapters covering Dixon’s unusual route to becoming a doctor are wistfully witty - he made the move to medicine after reading Philosophy and Psychology at Oxford. On qualifying in 1984, he took up a GP post in Devon and embarked on a life-long learning journey. From these beginnings, and through his career, he sees that serving patients’ needs demands much more than merely prescribing medicine and programmes of treatment. Indeed, Dixon’s view that practicing medicine demands a holistic, human approach is at the core of his book: “above everything, we must value and refine our skills as healers over and above the pills and procedures that we may offer.” The importance of this becomes starkly clear when we consider that despite medical advances “life expectancy is no longer improving”, and Dixon firmly believes that the increasing epidemic of long-term diseases like depression, diabetes, dementia and cancer are “the result of our catastrophic failure to care for the environment, the planet, ourselves and each other.” These failures, he observes, have become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the need for community connections and “the impact of social isolation”.
Always honest, thoughtful and wise, I came away moved, enlightened, and hoping desperately that we see the kinds of social, community-focussed changes Dixon suggests, which are, in essence, centred around “rediscovering a common humanity.”
Time to Heal; Tales of a Country Doctor tells the story of the colourful life of a country doctor towards the end of his career. In turn shocking, sad and funny, they describe a doctor who feels poorly served by the conventional medicine of his time and finds new ways to relieve the suffering of his patients. This tale has a twist. Twenty-first-century General Practice and its patients have been betrayed by top-heavy regulation, performance management and a blame culture. Young doctors no longer want to enter General Practice. The author explores why and how pandemics might provide the answers.
Closing date: 28/02/2021
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing
|Publication date:||2nd November 2020|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,|
Michael Dixon has been a country general practitioner in Cullompton, Devon for thirty-five years. His experiences during these years have taken him from being a conventional family doctor to having an increasing interest in complementary medicine and social prescribing, all influenced by his patients' colourful stories. He has written extensively on medicine and the health service and was previously President of the Guild of Health Writers and the health columnist for SHE magazine. Today, in his late 60s, he continues as a part-time GP and is Chair of the College of Medicine, Visiting Professor at University College London and Health ...More About Michael Dixon