Catharine Ward, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0SP
Title: OGPL Child Health
OGPL Child Health is a publication of the Oxford Handbook (OHB) range written predominantly for GPs and other primary health care professionals who have to manage paediatric patients. It covers the majority of common conditions and presentations on a systematic basis with a view to diagnosis and management within the community.
What Was Good?
Like most of the OHB series this book is well set out with a relatively even balance of text, tables and diagrams to help deliver the information in a reader-friendly manner. Helpful summary tables of common conditions can be found at the beginning of most chapters and give a good guide of the sort of things you will be expected to have heard of in the GP setting. There is also a particularly good thorough chapter for paediatric emergencies covering presentation through to full resus management. This is made better still by highlighting the different approaches needed for children of differing ages.
For those of you with an eye on increasing your communication skills it has ‘parent’s perspective’ boxes to help you manage parents’ ICE (Ideas, Concerns and Expectations). There are also lists of both general and condition-specific contact details for support groups that you can offer patients and their parents, which might well come in handy! In addition to this it explains legal concepts such as Gillick competence and the way to begin addressing them with patients.
What Was Not So Good?
Although it gives a simple summary of many conditions, the area that this book falls down on most is covering their management. As it is tailored towards primary care workers the management section most often consists of advising referral to a specialist, which is not all that helpful for students working towards exams! A reasonable number of pages are also devoted to explaining how a GP can offer paediatric services and how they can get paid for them. This goes into detail about QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) points, quotas and contracts; none of which are useful for students.
The book often only touches on subjects very briefly, such as allergy and haematological disorders, that are important to know more about both as a student and a GP. It also has some out-of-date advice, particularly in the areas of antibiotic coverage for dental treatment in patients with risk factors for infective endocarditis and regarding the MMR vaccine and autism.
Should You Buy This Book?
Unless you are sure you are going to be going down the GP route then this is probably not the book to buy right now. Although it covers things in a methodical way it is lacking in key areas such as disease management that are far better addressed in other textbooks. The primary care-centred approach of the book does, however, mean it might be good when on a GP placement. Therefore I would recommend that you pester your college library to get a copy which you can borrow before you choose whether or not to buy!