Book review: The Tales of a Suffolk GP

Amanda Howe was a GP for 40 years, more than half of that based in Norwich and the RCGP East Anglia Faculty. She has had various academic and professional leadership roles, including being President of the RCGP and WONCA.

This book by Andrew Yager is based on the author’s life as a GP in Suffolk from 1982 to 2021. It has 37 short chapters, each with a separate story, and immediately resonated with me as a fellow GP. It does not claim to be a scholarly book — no references, all personal experiences, and a light read in quantity — but not in quality, as it is so evocative.

While focusing on events often seen through the eyes of others, mainly patients, it is deeply reflective, as well as sometimes being funny: one house visit, identified by the car in the drive, turned out to be the wrong patient when the GP reached the lady’s bedroom. Others are quite uncomfortable, but show that sometimes taking risks can pay off and really benefit patients.

Closing chapters pick up themes such as the pros and cons of larger teams, the pressure of short appointments, and the costs for doctors’ mental health. Overall it paints a picture of a changing world in general practice during our lifetime, and concludes with the author’s huge respect for human capabilities to care, be resilient, and remain stoic in the face of pain and illness. Yager clearly shows how many lessons he has learned from his community — plus the huge importance of support from family and friends, and indeed the community itself. It made me feel positive once again about the unique role we play as GPs, and what a privilege it is to do that job.

In conclusion, this is a special read, which could equally be of interest to students, GPs, AiTs (a good one to discuss in group learning sessions), patients, and even medical historians. All money generated from book sales is going to support the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, helping with the needs of the Ukrainian people at this sad time. If you want to buy it, you can do so here.


Featured book: Andrew Yager, The Tales of a Suffolk GP, Suffolk: The Wedded Hare, 2022, £9.99, 978-1915463616.

Featured photo by Niklas Weiss on Unsplash.

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