Compassion – not bullying – is the path to improving NHS care

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Our recent report The chief executive's tale paints a picture of a pernicious national environment where talented NHS leaders are leaving because the pervading culture in which they are working is anything but positive. The creation of the positive organisational culture that promotes innovation and high quality has to have compassion as a central value and belief.

While we expect compassion from frontline NHS staff, they are not always well served by compassionate leadership in their organisation or from national bodies.

It’s easy to think that health is delivered by one NHS, but of course it isn’t. It’s a complex federation of disparate organisations under the banner of one of the most instantly recognised brands in the world. The psychological contract patients have with the NHS has been built up over years, based on experience, expectation and promises that shape what they should and can demand.

As long as the single brand exists, the national bodies responsible for its strategic development should consider the unifying forces that constitute one NHS. The expectation of outstanding compassionate clinical care at the point of delivery is one of the givens. And it’s right to say that across the system patients do receive amazing care day in, day out – delivered with compassion.

Read the full article on Guardian Healthcare Network