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The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the Regulation of Lifestyle Paperback – 10 Nov 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (10 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415235723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415235723
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A thrilling account of the problems encountered by doctors in present-day medical practice ... highly recommended to be read also by nurses.' - Nursing Ethics 2003, 10 (3)

About the Author

Michael Fitzpatrick is one of the leading historians in the field of alcoholism, specializing in the development of the Twelve Step movement. His work has included the restoration and digitization of one of the largest audio archives related to the Twelve Step movement.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
It has become almost a commonplace to note that though we live longer and healthier lives, we are also more concerned about our health than ever before. Whilst many commentators have written on different aspects of this paradox , there has until now been no satisfactory survey of the whole. Fitzpatrick gives us, from his perspective as a GP, the most penetrating analysis yet published of the rise of the New Public Health, and of its dangers for patients, doctors and the relationship between them.
Fitzpatrick presents a history of the way that health has become a major personal and political topic, by looking at the different health scares of the last few years, the screening tests and 'healthy living' recommendations that have been introduced and accepted in spite of dissenting academic criticism We are all familiar with instructions to eat healthily (just why is it five or six portions of fruit or vegetables per day anyway?), drink a certain number of units of alcohol a week, take exercise, and subject ourselves to screening tests of dubious efficacy . However, it is only when we are confronted by the whole panoply of measures that we realise how far things have gone and how rapid the pace of change has been. The result is that we now tolerate, if not actively seek out, a level of interference in our personal lives which would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.
How to explain the astonishing success of the new public health amongst doctors and the public? A cynic would say that there is a straightforward financial motive for many doctors' enthusiasm for these measures, and though there is some truth in this, it is not the most important part of the story.
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Format: Paperback
I am so pleased to have found this book. I work in a Primary Care Trust with a variety of doctors, nurses and Health Visitors on an ever-increasing Public Health agenda. The talk, the strategy, the whole ethos is of continual health promotion, healthy living, fat-free diets, exercise clubs, falls-prevention advice, sensible drinking, safe sex, cycle helmets, community initiatives, five-fruit-a-day, vegetable co-ops, breast is best... ad infinitum.
I have suspected for a long time that this was all going far too far. To paraphrase Dr Fitzpatrick, people are being discouraged from living happily on bacon and eggs and are instead being exhorted to live less 'dangerously' on muesli and skimmed milk - but at the risk of dying miserable and flatulent...
I thought I was a lone dissenter from the new health religion and have sometimes felt, in expressing my views, that I was being seen as probably too jaded and cynical for my own good or, at best, something of a party pooper.
This is the most inspiring medical book I have read for a long time. I shall be circulating selected passages to my colleagues and loaning the book out with enthusiasm. It should be widely read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting analysis of recent health scares and how the author thinks they worry the "worried well" to such an extent that we are allowing the medicalisation of far too many aspects of our lives.
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Format: Hardcover
Fitzpatrick wins me over right away with nail-on-the-head statements like:
>
The government's public health policy is really a programme of social control packaged as health promotion.

Medicine has become a quasi-religious crusade against the old sins of the flesh.

While resources are poured into projects that use health to enhance social control, real health needs - especially those of the elderly - are neglected.

Only an epidemiologist could believe that data based on 'selfreported' levels of alcohol consumption can provide a useful basis for quantitative studies.

Such is the degradation of medical ethics that it is now considered virtuous for doctors to take on the role and responsibilities of the police and to subordinate the best interests of their patients to the dictates of government drug policy.

The invention of new disease labels - such as 'attention deficit hyperactivity disorder' in children or diverse forms of addiction in adults - reflects the trend to define a wider range of experience in psychiatric terms.

The propaganda of addiction finds a ready resonance in a society in which people are all too ready to accept a medical label for their difficulties.

There is ... a marked tendency for vulnerable people to develop an ongoing dependence on therapy, which is as likely to confirm their inadequacy as it is to enable them to overcome it.

Parenting projects are likely to weaken parental authority still further.
<
He asserts that the government (he never mentions the industries that pull the government's strings) peddles health and longevity.
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Format: Paperback
see also Ivan Illich and Skrabenek on these themes. A doctor in the East End charts the development medicine over the past 10 years from one based on professional autonomy of the doctor to the doctor becoming an arm of state policy and coercsion.
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