I already own the fifth edition of this text and the pages of my copy are visibly grubby; proof that either this book is well used or that my hands aren’t very clean! Given that we’re all washing our hands twenty or thirty times a day on the wards, I would have to conclude that this is indeed an indispensable text.
So you need the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine but do you need the seventh edition or can you just buy a cheap old one from one of the fifth years? Well, I’m holding onto this new edition so I’m now a fifth year with one to sell but I will try to remain impartial nonetheless!
As with all the Oxford Handbooks, the conditions are logically and concisely described and broken down into pathogenesis, clinical features, investigations, management and the like. The most obvious difference between the seventh edition and the fifth is the colour injection. The book is much easier to navigate your way around now and the illustrations are clearer now that they are coloured. There are also larger illustrations and a comprehensive new radiology section in this edition, complete with X-ray plates. Other useful additions to the seventh edition include the section with doses of commonly prescribed drugs (this has saved me on may ward rounds) and a greater referencing of the evidence base behind the chapters and up-to-date best treatment guidelines and algorithms for common conditions.
In summary, this is an extensive revision of an already essential companion to medical studies and a book that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone about to start the clinical half of the course.