Views & Reviews

Could kindness heal the NHS?

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 16 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3166
  1. Angela M Jones, portfolio general practitioner, Oxfordshire
  1. angela.jones{at}

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who is perturbed by evidence of a lack of caring in the NHS. As a doctor I know that this evidence is not just media scaremongering. I regularly treat acutely unwell elderly patients in need of hospitalisation who beg me not to send them in. I know sensible people who have given up going to their general practice, disillusioned by doctors who seem to be more interested in their computer than in them. I share the despair of patients with complex mental healthcare needs, refused help from psychiatric services because they have concomitant drug or alcohol issues or are labelled as “untreatable,” and the weary outrage of homeless people, discharged from hospital straight back onto the street while still recovering from a serious illness. I hear of growing numbers of Britons on the waiting list for assisted suicide in Zurich. All this makes me wonder whether we have given up on the notion of a caring health service.

    My personal disquiet about our system …

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