Review: A Fortunate Woman by Polly Morland

6th June 2022 by Dr Judith Harvey

Review: A Fortunate Woman by Polly Morland

If you publish a book about a GP in the Forest of Dean and title it A Fortunate Woman, you are inviting comparison with its predecessor, A Fortunate Man, about a previous GP practicing in the Forest of Dean.

When I first read A Fortunate Man I didn’t believe it. Or I didn’t want to believe it. Such commitment! Such idealism! How could I ever aspire to be such a doctor?

Looking back, half a century later, was it believable? A Fortunate Man came out in 1967, during the decade when British GPs’ morale was so low that three-quarters of them gave the BMA post-dated letters of resignation from the NHS. The outcome was the 1966 Family Doctor Charter which ushered in ‘a golden age’ of general practice. But John Sassell, the Fortunate Man, in the Forest of Dean, had already been practising in his golden age for many years.

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