This timely and assured text provides lecturers and students with a well informed, penetrating analysis of the key questions in medicine and society. The book is divided into three sections. It opens with a well judged account of the context of health and illness. It moves on to examine the process and experience of illness. Finally, it examines how health care is negotiated and delivered.



Chapter Summary

This chapter describes:

  • how criticism of the institution of medicine and the organization of healthcare is a professional rather than an individual responsibility;
  • how individual practitioners have to develop a style of practice that alleviates the symptoms of disease and also the wider difficulties that patients and colleagues face;
  • how some minimal and initial steps towards this can be suggested in terms of communication style and content, the treatment of medical uncertainty and an understanding of each patient's context.


This book has rehearsed a number of criticisms levelled at medicine and the dominant role it plays in defining health and in the organization of healthcare. These criticisms have been influential in the NHS and in the reform of the healthcare system which have sought ...

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