British Journal of Psychiatry
This book highlights the renewed recognition of the value of spiritual dimensions of health with the growth of ethics. I feel the book is very timely and is likely to inspire further work with examples of good practice, particularly when medicine is being swamped with administration, technocracy, politics and management.
The timing of the book Medicine of the Person: Faith, Science and Values in Health Care Provision is perfect. Health care professionals are beginning to look at the importance of the therapeutic relationship and the role of values in healing, and books are appearing that expand the notion of health care. In Medicine of the Person, the contributors lay out a cogent critique of a mechanistic health care system, one that uses robots and computerized diagnoses and treatments but leaves out the human dimension and mysteries of healing. What editors Cox, Campbell and Fulford offer instead is a clear statement of values. Not only are these values humane, but they are also written in a language that it elegant, European, and philosophical. What a pleasure to revel in these ideas and intelligent writing, after professional writing that uses Power Point, bullet points and talking points, and is written for a hyperactive attention span.
This book is timely in the current context of our increasingly multi-faith society and the revived interest in the spiritual aspects of health, and health care. It seeks to encourage the reader to challenge the conventional medical approach, which is to treat the condition, rather than exploring how the culture or background of the individual might impact on the condition and subsequent treatment. This is a good introductory text to the topic and its relevance to health practice today. The authors suggest that "medicine of the person" could make an essential contribution to the current demand in the health services for patient-centred care.