Prestigious literary award for local doctor’s debut

Dr Barry Monk worked at Bedford Hospital for 25 years

A doctor from Bedford has won a British Medical Association award for his debut book, ‘Lifeline’, which casts a critical eye over the current state of the NHS.

Dr Barry Monk, who worked at Bedford Hospital for 25 years and who still practices at the Manor Hospital in Biddenham, has won a British Medical Association (BMA) medical book award in the category ‘Good Medical Practice’.

The BMA medical book awards take place annually to recognise outstanding contributions to medical literature. This year, over 300 books and other resources were submitted to the BMA from publishers around the globe.

The book describes how, and why, things go wrong in the NHS, from fake doctors to forged wills and vanishing post-mortems.

It describes how malicious managers, inept regulators and naïve politicians find it easier to hide the truth or blame innocent scapegoats.

‘Lifeline’ by Dr Barry Monk

Dr Monk said: “I am delighted to receive this award. I know how much people value the NHS, but it is obvious from all the stories that we read in the news, that something has gone very wrong.

“I wrote the book during lockdown, when I had more time than usual to think, and I wanted to explain to the public that now is the time to speak up, if we are to save this vital service.

“Some parts of the book will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but I promise that you won’t be bored.”

‘Good Medical Practice’ is one of 15 categories in the annual awards. Praising ‘Lifeline’ a judging panellist said: “Lifeline tackles probity at a time when the NHS makes mistake after mistake.

“It is provocative. It is focused on how we can improve practice. It is useful for healthcare professions, managers, politicians and civil servants which is what makes it important as a book. Read and take heed.”

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