I’m always drawn to medical memoirs, however this book is so much different from the usual memoirs from exhausted hospital doctors, that are very interesting and shocking at times.
Dr Amanda Brown is a former GP from Buckinghamshire who objected to the new proposed targets for GP’s that would give them bonuses for performing certain set tasks within the course of their work with existing patients.
Dr Brown resigned and sent a strongly worded article to be published in the magazine for GPs called Pulse. The article was spotted by a prison recruiter and the doctor was offered a new role as a prison doctor.
Her career has taken her so far to a young offenders unit, a seven year stint working in Wormwood scrubs and her latest and existing placement is at HMP Bronzefield, a women’s prison. From the justice.gov.uk site
Type of Accommodation: 3 main residential units holding approximately 135 women each. A fourth residential unit holding 77 women was opened in January 2010. Bronzefield also has Level 4 Healthcare provision with inpatient facilities for 18 women. A smaller 10-bed Help & Direction Unit which served as an intermediary unit between Healthcare and main residence was decommissioned by MoJ in October 2010. Bronzefield also has a Separation & Care Unit.
Reception Criteria: Direct from courts within the catchment area. Remand and trial adults and young adults. Short term sentenced adults up to 6 months. Mothers & Babies (up to 18 months). Restricted Status prisoners; life sentenced prisoners and young offenders.
Dr Brown chronicles some of the patients she’s treated in the prison service and tells their often horrendous, heartbreaking stories of how they’ve ended up serving prison sentences. The high incidence of homeless people who have stolen goods to finance a heroin habit, then after they manage to get clean inside are released, only to become homeless and back abusing drugs once more. Those who have been brought up in care with absolutely no-one who cares about their welfare. Those with a background of abuse within their own family. Intelligent, articulate people to whom life has been harsh.
The suicides, attempted suicides and self harm.
Dr Brown built up such a rapport with a lot of her patients that she found it difficult to then interact and socialise with affluent acquaintances and friends who lived in her own village. Her sympathies and connections with her prisoners changed her life. Always empathetic, the challenges and people she met during the course of her work changed her whole way of thinking.
A superb, interesting read and my only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough but hopefully there will be more books published by this author.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC