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Secretary of State for Health called upon to prioritise compassionate care

20 May 2015

Today, The Point of Care Foundation publishes an open letter to the newly reappointed Secretary of State for Health, calling on him to set up a fund to boost support for NHS staff. The recommendation is one of a series of measures the charity calls for to help ensure compassion in care remains a top priority for the health service.

Writing to the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, the chief executive, Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, calls on the Secretary of State to:

  • Communicate through actions as well as words that he values the care staff bring to their work with patients
  • Restrict the necessary contribution of regulation and performance management to what really matters so that managers can spend more time with patients and staff
  • Focus NHS organisations less on gathering data and more using the data they collect to generate improvement
  • Require NHS organisations to show how they are involving patients and staff in problem-solving and improvement
  • Establish a fund for NHS organisations to use as they judge best to boost staff engagement and support

In the letter, Ms Cornwell warns against the risks inherent in a healthcare environment which is characterised by very high volumes of activity. She says the industrial scale of modern healthcare can leave patients and staff feeling like “cogs in the system.” She writes: “Indifferent, insensitive and impersonal care is detrimental to health and hinders self-management. It slows recovery and affects clinical outcomes negatively. Improving patient experience is the right thing to do but also makes sense clinically and financially.”

Ms Cornwell acknowledges that responsibility for ensuring that care is delivered with kindness and compassion rests with staff on the frontline, but says that the Secretary of State’s role is setting the right priorities, influencing the tone of national debate and reinforcing the importance of positive culture.


Notes to editors

Read the letter in full

The Point of Care Foundation is an independent charity dedicated to improving patients’ experience of care and increasing support for the staff who work with them. We provide evidence and resources to support health and care staff in the valuable work of caring for patients. We believe a truly patient-centred approach – focussed on listening, understanding and responding to the needs of the whole individual – is essential to the delivery of the best possible quality of care.

For further information about our work please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @pointofcarefdn.

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