Compassion champions needed to tackle NHS empathy deficit

Empathy and compassion, or the lack thereof, have been making waves in the healthcare arena. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, recently bemoaned a lack of compassion in the nursing profession and the Francis report is littered with examples of patients being treated in an incredibly callous fashion by hospital staff.

 

Interestingly, some have recently questioned whether compassion and empathy are quite the unmitigated goods we usually think they are. However, the evidence that empathy is a boon to patients is fairly unequivocal.

by Carwyn Hooper

Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at St George’s, University of London