Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Managerialising compassion

It seems that our world-famous National Health Service is now hanging at least some of its problems on lack of compassion towards patients. Today Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England (a sort of national matron?), has been on the television and the wireless saying how bad the situation is, amounting in all to a 'betrayal' of patients. She advocates what she calls 'the six Cs' – care, compassion, commitment, communication, courage and competence

It all rings rather hollow. If something so self-evident needs saying at all, then it is probably too late for words, even mnemnonics, and talk of skills and training, and targets and measurement and the like are way off course. What the system needs is values, and beliefs, maybe even ideology. Maybe it had these once, maybe it did not. If it did, however, then something acted to blow them away. Possibly some combination of skills and training, and targets and measurement and such.

The hacks whom I have seen commenting on this sound rather unconvinced. They have their own reasons. I myself am not convinced because the proposed solution seems atomised and alienated and mechanistic, without hint of heart or soul. Don't blame Ms Cummings. Given her position, what's a girl to do? Hardly talk about heart and soul and intelligent love? So more of the same all round.

What do I care? At my age, I care a lot.

PS   Getting old

I see that without conciously realising it I incorporated two song titles into the above posting. Corny or what?  For those who do not remember Jayne Mansfield in 1956, or Sondra Lockein 1978,  here are a couple of reminders: 





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