Intensive Care Reviews

Allan Massie, The Scotsman   

There is much in this record of coping with Covid-19 that is disturbing, some that is alarming. Overall however the effect is different, even inspiring. I can’t recommend it too strongly. You will learn a lot from it, and you will find much more that is encouraging.

Kate Saunders, The Times    

Well written, often entertaining and occasionally deeply moving; an unmissable account of a year we will all try too hard to forget.

Anoosh Chakelian New Statesman

Doctors like Francis, and the other health workers he describes, should be the ones to reflect on what’s best for the patient – having been there with them through the worst.


Richard Davenport-Hines, The Oldie  

Francis’s beautifully written, thoughtful books can’t be recommended enough.Unlike many physicians who also write like angels Francis is never embittered or misanthropic Intensive Care is rich in compassion, patience and humanity.

 Brian Morton, The Tablet  

Francis comes across as a highly empathetic physician already admired for his Adventures in Human Being and Shapeshifters, he is a wise, literate man whose compassion is grounded in realism.

Sarah Moss

 I admire Intensive Care very much the way it rises to the challenge of writing-to-the-moment, the way it manages compassion without sentimentality, & shows a constant commitment to social justice without piety.  Its message is oddly reassuring too as if we will eventually make sense of this pandemic.

James Robertson    

Intensive Care is one doctor’s beautifully written, easily read account of 2020. It reveals the sheer intensity of what the pandemic has been like for workers in the health and care sectors. Rich in detail, conscious of the long historical context of pandemics, it’s both humane and hopeful.  A great read and an important record of our times.

Iona Heath   

Intensive Care is a marvellous book, superb. absolutely the best account I’ve seen of the realities of living through last year. I loved it.


Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian

Rachel Clarke and Gavin Francis, two of the very best doctor-writers to emerge within a rich new seam, spare us no pain in their compelling but tragic accounts if the prime minister won’t treat us with respect and level with us, these doctors will These superb books make clear that the revelation of this plague has been twofold: our hubris has been shattered, yet there remains a staggering human capacity for bravery, courage and endurance.
 [reviewed with Rachel Clarke’s ‘Breathtaking’]


Estelle Birdy, Irish Times

One of the most absorbing books – of any type – that I’ve had the pleasure to read… Although this is the story of a very dark time, it is full of warmth and decency. It is a book to be savoured. Beautiful things can emerge from desperate times; this book is one of those things.


Rachel Clarke, The Lancet    

Francis deals words with devastating potency.  With understated eloquence, he depicts the ravages of lockdown for the community he serves.. Ultimately, Intensive Care is less a hot take than an astute manifesto for what matters most in life, as well as in medicine.