Admissions: A life in brain surgery Henry Marsh ISBN: 9781474603867
Making bureaucracy entertaining is not easy, but in Admissions, neurosurgeon Henry Marsh’s second memoir, he writes with such candour, charm and wit that even tales of red tape are fascinating.
There is the story in which Mr Marsh is provided with 15 lengthy questionnaires to hand out to patients. Not surprisingly, he is on his best behaviour and the patients obediently fill out the forms. In one of the many ‘admissions’ in the book, Mr Marsh says he is tempted to do this himself, accuse himself of being impatient and unsympathetic – in short a typical surgeon – and see if this makes any difference to the absurd charade.
Worse, the exercise is managed by a private company, one of the many profitable businesses which, as Mr Marsh puts it, prey off the NHS like hyenas off an ageing and disabled elephant – disabled by the lack of political will to keep it alive.
His experience as a theatre porter watching surgeons operate led Mr Marsh to become a surgeon. But it is bureaucracy that prompts his letter of resignation. His notice comes one day after being ticked off by the chief executive for not following dress code and completing computerised forms. He could no longer
work in an organisation where senior managers demonstrate such a lack of awareness of how to manage well.
Looking back on his career, which included pioneering awake craniotomy, Mr Marsh writes more frankly than in his bestselling Do No Harm about his shame and horror at his mistakes. He is candid about the sometimes catastrophic consequences for patients.
But his experiences of chaotic, cash-starved healthcare systems in Nepal and Ukraine are an opportunity for Mr Marsh to laud the NHS as a triumph of social justice and decency. While he acknowledges that the NHS is far from perfect, its failings are far less than the excessive treatment, extravagance and inequality that pervade private healthcare.
- Gill Hitchcock, staff writer, Frontline
Living Pain Free: Healing chronic pain with myofascial release Amanda Oswald ISBN: 9781905367818
This is described as a ‘must-read’ for people with conditions such as migraines and headaches, and repetitive strain injury.
Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome: Simple and effective exercises for buttock, leg and back pain Katharina Brinkmann and Nicolai Napolski ISBN: 9781905367849
This book aims to reveal the cause of sciatica and how it can be treated simply.
Toxic Cocktail: How chemical pollution is poisoning our brains Barbara Demeneix ISBN: 9780190260934
The author presents evidence showing that many chemicals interfere with one of the body’s most essential regulators of brain development: thyroid hormone.
The Brain: What everyone needs to know Gary L Wenk ISBN: 9780190603403
The author interprets the current state of knowledge and distils the essence of what is important to everyday lives. Prior knowledge about the brain is said to be unnecessary.
Understanding Behaviour in Dementia that Challenges (2nd edition)Ian Andrew James and Louisa Jackman ISBN: 1785922645
This revised edition offers new chapters on end of life care, racism towards care staff, physical health screening and carer communication skills.
Frontline and various