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PACES for the MRCP.
  1. P D Welsby
  1. Consultant Physician in Infectious Disease, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK;

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    Tim Hall, (Pp 611; £29.99.) Elsevier Science, 2003. ISBN 0-443-07190-X.

    It is only to be predicted that a single author, especially a specialist training registrar, would fail in an attempt to produce a book that would successfully cover the whole of medicine. It could also be predicted that a generalist would fail to provide appropriate balance when paraphrasing the essence of each specialty (a task much more difficult than providing exhaustive comprehensive accounts which omit nothing). This book disproves both predictions.

    The book deals in turn with the five stations of PACES. Station 4 (communication skills and ethics) is particularly helpful as there are many suggested gambits which would be helpful in real medical life.

    On one level this is a general medical textbook appropriate for MRCP level clinicians. Definitive summaries of medical conditions, their physiology and investigations are clearly laid out. Data overload occasioned by the onslaught of medical conventional wisdom is a continual risk in such books, but the author provides occasional wry comments that refresh the mind—for example the internal capsule has a disappointing blood supply. On another level PACES questions are posed throughout, which ensures that it cannot be read passively in the hope that some bits will be remembered: active transport of knowledge rather than osmosis is thereby encouraged. Useful tips are scattered throughout the text. The further reading references at the end of each chapter are appropriate and include some in 2002. Finally, the index is such that this book could be used as a quick reference about subjects about which one was less than knowledgeable.

    This book is remarkable. At least one specialist training registrar worked harder than contracted! I rarely write such good reviews, especially when I am envious of the breath of knowledge and energy that must have been required to write this book.

    Tim Hall, (Pp 611; £29.99.) Elsevier Science, 2003. ISBN 0-443-07190-X.


    • Declaration of interest. I am a PACES examiner.