Picked Up, Patched Up and Sent Home

Book Review

 Why I Love the NHS by Carl Walker

Publishing 27 February 2015 • Paperback • £9.99 • ISBN: 978-0-7198-1443-3

Carl Walker is a principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Brighton.  He loves the NHS on every page of this book. All the royalties will go to the NHS Support Federation.

He tells about 80 stories about his encounters with the NHS over 38 years, starting with a bicycle accident, but concentrating mostly on embarrassing episodes. Some of these are about his genitals, but most are about his anxieties about how to communicate with NHS staff and what they might think about him. Perhaps that is what we should expect from a psychologist.

Interspersed with these tales there a number of accounts of the weakness of the American health system, and celebration of the fact that in the UK we do not have to hand over money at the time of treatment.  But beyond that, sadly, he hasn’t got much to say about the NHS as a system.

One of the stories is about his diagnosis as suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy. For many people this is a long term condition, but we learn nothing of any treatment he might have had for it.   Most of his encounters are at the casualty department, the GP or the sexual health clinic.  He has nothing to say about the management of chronic conditions – which is the big challenge for the NHS and all health systems.  This is the more surprising because he explains how he was involved in research into depression.