What the experts are saying…
“Jeremy Swayne’s remarkable book could not be more timely. Authoritative and challenging, the author poses questions that have to be answered”
– Professor David Haslam, President, British Medical Association
“The book is bursting with ideas and surprising juxtapositions, such as the necessary precariousness of medical practice and the need for ‘humble hubris’ in our engagement with patients. It should be required reading for medical students”
– Gene Feder, Professor of Primary Healthcare, University of Bristol
Modern medicine is dominated by a scientific method that focuses on the biological mechanisms of disease, and on developing medical technology to control them. It has achieved great things, but at a cost that is becoming unaffordable. And at the expense of a deeper understanding of human nature and the complex personal dimension of illness and disease – their origins and their significance in the whole experience of our lives. At the expense, too, of a deeper understanding of how to promote health and healing, taking full account of this personal dimension and encouraging more effectively the self-regulation and self-healing that we know is possible. These concerns are widespread within the healthcare professions and amongst patients
If we are to remodel medicine, as we must, it will require a minor revolution, or at least a metamorphosis. For most health professionals it should be the sort of revolution that consists of throwing off their chains. What is now a biomedical straight jacket will become a less restrictive and more comfortable garment; though still as useful, if not more so. Remodelling is necessary above all to restore what has been called ‘the soul of medicine’, its healing vocation. But it is essential, too, if medicine is to provide a health-care service that that is more effective and at less cost.
Remodelling Medicine celebrates the biomedical approach and the benefits that it has brought us, but accords it a more modest place in our understanding and management of human suffering, illness, disease and healing; in which biological events and imperatives are better understood in terms of their biographical significance and meaning, and our concern with the disordered parts is a consequence of our ‘worth-ship’ of the whole. Dr Swayne provides a persuasive argument that change is necessary, that there has been a long-standing belief amongst many engaged in or concerned with medicine that this is so, and that the momentum for change is growing; and offers pointers to the direction that change should take.
About the author
Remodelling Medicine is the culmination of Dr Jeremy Swayne’s experience as a general practitioner and homeopathic physician over forty years of clinical practice, and more recently as a Church of England priest. He first explored the themes that have emerged in this book in 1976, when they were already beginning to arouse concern amongst medical practitioners and commentators, in a series of articles whose general purpose is reflected in the title of one of them, Medicine and healing – a broken marriage? (New Society 2nd September 1976; 491-2).
Over the years he has sought to deepen his understanding of the issues by providing time, both in general practice and private practice, to give attention to clinical detail, for the use of psychological skills, and for hearing ‘the story of sickness’. He has experience as a parish priest and in the Christian Healing Ministry, and a broad interest in the concept of healing and the relationship between science and religion. His recreations include principally his family and friends, music, laughter, and walking through the English countryside. His eccentricities have included from time to time Morris Dancing and other comic antics.