Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews

Could kindness heal the NHS?

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 16 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3166

Kindness: the missing ingredient to health care.

I fully endorse the Personal View by Dr Jones. The sad thing is that
we even have to beseech medical and nursing colleagues to behave in a more
compassionate and empathic way! We live in a society where all too often
care and courtesy for our fellow human beings are sadly lacking. Everyone
has rights but precious few seem to acknowledge any responsibilities. I
feel a sense of collective guilt as a nurse when I hear about the care
patients receive at the hands of colleagues, and yet I know of many nurses
and doctors who work selflessly for their patients. Maybe Dr Jones has a
point when she says that centrally driven targets define our practice and
that intangible qualities like kindness get lost amongst concrete
measurements. But what value do we place on caring and compassion? Maybe
as well as evidence based medicine we need to encourage compassion based
medicine and nursing. Targets, if we must have them, should focus on the
patient's overall experience of their health care. Let us all remember
that what we permit, we promote. So next time anyone witnesses an
unkindness, speak up!

Competing interests:
I work in the NHS

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 June 2010
Ghislaine C Young
NP general practice
West yorkshire