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Patient-Centred Medicine in Transition

The Heart of the Matter

  • Book
  • © 2014


  • Challenges all previous models of communication between patients and doctors
  • Explains how the non-technical focus of communication can improve patient outcomes and increase patient safety
  • Focuses on the dynamics of the doctor/patient relationship
  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Advances in Medical Education (AMEDUC, volume 3)

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Table of contents (17 chapters)

  1. Communication in Medicine: Democracy and Its Discontents

  2. A Brief but Provocative Conclusion


About this book

This book challenges functional models for more aesthetic and ethical models, where communication is grounded in values systems of cultures. Here, communication is treated as a distributed phenomenon involving networks of persons, activities and artifacts, and extends beyond doctor-patient relationships to working in and across teams around patients. The purpose of the book is to stimulate thinking about how patient care and safety may be improved through a focus upon the ‘non-technical’ work of doctors – interpersonal communication, teamwork and situation awareness in teams. The focus is then not on the personality of the doctor, but on the dynamics of relationships which form doctors’ multiple identities.


From the book reviews:

Selected as “Highly Commended” at BMA Medical Book Awards for 2014.

“‘This book usefully brings together the history, development and important tenets of patient-centred medicine, making it an almost unique reference for this important area of change in how medicine is delivered. … brings together a wealth of evidence and information that may well be pivotal in both changing the way we educate our future health professionals, particularly doctors, but also deliver healthcare.’” (BMA Medical Book Awards, September, 2014)

“The book draws on psychology, sociology, the arts, humanities, feminism, linguistics and philosophy. … This is a book aimed mainly at the serious student of communication – gold dust if you are doing a PhD or a master’s in professional practice. It would also sit well on the shelf of the front line clinician seeking to understand the numerous situations in clinical practice that are bedevilled by conflict, crossed wires, unvoiced anxieties and other communication failures.” (Trish Greenhalgh, Nursing Standard, Vol. 29 (20), January, 2015)

Authors and Affiliations

  • and Dentistry, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, Cornwall, United Kingdom

    Alan Bleakley

About the author

Alan Bleakley is Professor of Medical Education and Medical Humanities at Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, UK, recently formed from the dissolution of Peninsula Medical School, where he was Deputy Director of the Institute of Clinical Education, internationally recognized as a leading medical education academic and research centre. He initially studied zoology and physiology and biochemistry, but switched to psychology, where his interests in brain science soon faded to be replaced by a passion for a more arts and humanities based psychology. He trained as a psychotherapist, obtaining a DPhil from Sussex University, and practiced for over 25 years, also running qualifying courses in psychotherapy for the University of Exeter, and education in communication for GPs and other health practitioners. He also taught psychodynamic therapies on a doctoral qualifying course for clinical psychologists also at the University of Exeter. Alan came into medical education some years ago, where he has become a leading international figure, especially in the field of theory.             

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Patient-Centred Medicine in Transition

  • Book Subtitle: The Heart of the Matter

  • Authors: Alan Bleakley

  • Series Title: Advances in Medical Education

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Medicine, Medicine (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-02486-8Published: 10 February 2014

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-37967-8Published: 27 August 2016

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-02487-5Published: 27 January 2014

  • Series ISSN: 2211-1298

  • Series E-ISSN: 2211-1301

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 267

  • Number of Illustrations: 3 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Medical Education

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