Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editorials Spotlight: Patient Centred Care

Time to deliver patient centred care

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 10 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h530

Rapid Response:

The foundation of Person Centred Care - Competent Compassion

It is a very good thing that person centred care seems to be gaining traction in the medical community.

However, it will need to work practically, reproducibly and consistently. To get it embedded in the healthcare culture I suggest that it needs to be underpinned by a simple and memorable concept that encompasses the core things that are needed in the one to one therapeutic relationship between a professional and a patient.

I suggest that "competent compassion" fulfills these criteria. When a patient sees a professional they want them to be competent and compassionate - that is what we would all want for ourselves and families and friends. It encapsulates what is needed for quality care. One without the other is either dangerous or ineffective.

Let's not over complicate patient centred care and make it too academic and driven by top down strategies. The beauty of the concept of competent compassion is that it puts the onus on the professional to increase their competence and compassion - and gives them simple tools to do that. This then becomes an ongoing, normal part of practice which is not about sticks but about carrots and personal development.

Have a look at the website - where it is explored further - and let me know if you want to have a look at the competent compassion checkup tools available for the professional, the patient and an observer, as required.

I believe that the vast majority of professionals want this - something simple and effective to refocus on the quality of individual care - rather than organisational targets that can ignore what really matters to actual patients - and us.

Joss Bray

Competing interests: I am the founder of Competent Compassion - a concept explored in

17 February 2015
Joss Bray
Substance Misuse specialist doctor
Self Employed
Alnwick, Northumberland