Posted by: madkentdragon | February 8, 2013

RIP Compassion

Listening to the news this week, I must admit to being shocked at the hospital news; please note, I wasn’t horrified – I should have been, but having heard it all before you somehow become used to this type of thing.

Now that worried me, why was I no longer horrified and jumping up and down shouting “No, this can’t be happening?”

The very sad fact is that most of us have been inured to this because it has been happening for too long and far to often. From Winterbourne View where vulnerable patients were so badly abused to Maidstone Hospital in my home town where there were so many C-Diff cases that it caused an inquiry and resulted in a newsworthy sacking, the cases continued and are still continuing.

I am upset with myself for just saying not again – and it is happening again and again and again.

I know there are members of the public who will always walk the other way when someone collapses in the street and that this has been happening since the beginning of time – no-one expressed surprise when the parable of the Good Samaritan was told – except that it was a non-native who showed compassion.

But those in the so called caring professions are now exhibiting the same attitude – not all because some have taken the profession because they really do care – but what about the rest? From the ivory towers where the pennies are counted to the lowliest cleaner, there is a number who don’t care  – or at least don’t care enough. So why are they working in hospitals and care homes?

Money must not over rule the basic necessities of care, no matter how tight the politicians pull the purse strings, people who are vulnerable because of mental problems, age or sickness need care as much as they need nursing and medication. Soiling your sheets because no-one cares enough and not having the basic need of a drink of water met is unacceptable, but not in the world where targets and costs are the primary concern.

We are all shouting now about the lack of care, until a different scandal comes along, but I’m wondering what will happen when much of the NHS is outsourced to private companies – will these scandals become so run of the mill that they are no longer considered news worthy. I sincerely hope not.

I want both sides of the house of commons to pledge their jobs on ensuring that caring becomes the heart of the care industry – after all their relatives are probably well looked after – so they should make sure that their constituents are also well looked after – or is caring and compassion dead – killed off by pounds and pence?



  1. Hi Pat, certainly the publication of the Francis report has generated lots of coverage in the media this week. Funnily enough though people don’t seem to be particularly attributing this latest scandal to money. There were a couple of interesting reports on Newsnight this week, particularly the discussion on Wednesday when I was mortified, if not surprised, to hear the concept of ‘Zero Harm’ & a ‘Duty of Candour’ being spoken about as if these were revolutionary ideas. Even more appalling that it takes the campaigning efforts of ordinary members of the public like Deb Hazeldine after the shocking treatment and often tragic fate of their relatives to get the powers that be to do anything about it.

    • Meant to say not being sure about the exact days but it was Kirsty Wark a day or two previously who interviewed Deb H and following that when Emily Maitlis interviewed the loathsome Norman Lamb and then hosted the discussion I had in mind with Julie Bailey and some other interesting healthcare types…

  2. Making people care – its hard, because I’m not sure our society fosters a sense of duty to others any more. Once, being a career would have been the default for any English citizen; somehow this ethos has been eroded over the years. Frankly? It scares me, because one day we will all need this system.

    • Hi Kate, just a few thoughts and observations in response to your post. Just a quick point to start with, I think you meant carer not career, even if note entirely sure. In response to your main point though, to my mind it’s not so much a sense of duty, which died many years ago, that motivates people to become healthcare professionals in the NHS, but something more like a vocation. The problem is that like teachers, police etc. the system quickly puts paid to that. Best, Peter

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