Review of Beyond My Control by Suzan Collins

About the author


With 33 years’ experience in health and social care Suzan Collins believed she could ensure good care for her mother, and her family relied on her to do so. She was actually delivering training on best practice when she was first contacted with the news her mother had broken her leg at her nursing home and been transferred to hospital. This is the story of what followed – the gradual revelation of a whole ongoing chain of bad practice and poor care that Suzan, with all her knowledge and experience of ‘the system’, could not influence. In this highly topical book, Suzan shares her story from her personal and professional perspectives and looks ahead to how we can all contribute to keeping vulnerable people in the health and social care system safe from harm.


My review

When I read this book, I must admit to going out of my comfort zone. I prefer fiction to fact as a rule but this book, which is an account of the last few weeks of the author’s mother’s life in the health care system, left me angry, sad and frustrated. I was angry at the way elderly people in hospital or homes are still treated in our so-called civilized society. I felt sad for Suzan and her family and this heart-wrenching account left me with tears streaming down my face at one point. I feel frustrated that despite all her attempts to get answers and for someone to be accountable, in the end, despite assurances that measures were now in place to make sure it couldn’t happen again, the hospital and care home were simply paying lip service.


More worrying is that the author works in the health care system herself as a consultant writing the very training manuals that were supposed to prevent this kind of thing happening. If she is unable to get answers and to prevent this unacceptable treatment of elderly people, then I worry as to how the rest of us who may need treatment ourselves one day, or who have friends or family in a care home or hospital, will fare. Suzan didn’t want to sue the hospital or care home: for her it was never about the money, it was about getting answers and making sure nobody else suffered in the same way. Fortunately she gives a list of addresses, contact details and websites should you be unfortunate enough to need them. As she points out, the majority of care is good but it shouldn’t be acceptable in my view for even one more elderly person to be treated without respect, dignity or compassion. It’s a pity that there isn’t a handbook for common sense.

Best for....

Everyone! Sooner or later most of us will have friends or family in need of health care for the elderly. This is a must-read.

My rating

5/5 this book could literally save someone's life

Where you can find Suzan’s books:


You can find out much more about Suzan and her excellent work on the following:




Twitter: @suzancollins



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Ann Victoria Roberts | Reply 24.11.2013 20.42

Excellent review of what is clearly a heart-breaking book. Suzan Collins has used her expertise in the best way in writing about a situation we all fear.

Suzan Collins 25.11.2013 11.31

Thank you, Ann x

Julie Ryan 24.11.2013 20.44

Yes, Ann, it had me in tears but there's also some good advice and contact details in there.

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Latest comments

27.05 | 22:25

Another amazing review, dying to get my hands on this one xxx

27.05 | 20:42

probably the best new author I know....x x x x x x x

27.05 | 14:17

Great review, can't wait to read over the holiday

27.05 | 13:49

Wonderful review. Really looking forward to reading this.

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