Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nurses (in England) to be rated on compassion

Nurses to be rated on how compassionate and smiley they are (link via I think it should go without saying that patients expect nurses to be compassionate but should we really expect them to smile all the time too? Yes, it's nice when they smile (and I think most good nurses do try to be smiley and cheerful for their patients) but I don't think it should be so highly rated. I think the actual nursing care is far more important! From my own experience in NHS hospitals, the nursing care has always been first-rate. However, my first experience in an NHS hospital (in a maternity ward) was a nightmare because even though the midwives were fantastic, the ward was freezing cold, the bathroom was filthy and the meals were unpalatable. I think the government should concentrate on improving cleaning standards - and maintaining clean wards - plus improving the hospital food, rather than worrying about whether the nurses are smiling or not! Actually, after reading the article again, I think the nurses attitude toward patients is just a small part of the survey in this new government plan: The compassion index will be compiled by health regulators using surveys of patients' views while in hospital, including feedback about the attitude of staff. It will also measure standards of nutritional care, minimisation of pain, hand-washing, and safety on the wards. I'm not completely sure though how these surveys will make a difference regarding nutritional care, hand-wahing, etc. If the feedback from the patient's surveys is negative, what then? Surveys don't solve the problem, they just identify the problems and it seems to me that these issues have already been identified. Now they need to be addressed.


  1. I wish that the government would leave hospitals to get on with dealing with patients!
    I find it very sad that our health service, which should be world class,is third rate in many respects.
    My own NHS experiences have ranged from excellent then to appalling now.

  2. The government needs to make sure that taxpayer's money is spent wisely - staffing levels should always be good (not just adequate), all patients should be offered nutritious food, and all hospitals should be clean. Recent reports about the number of cleaner hospitals make me see red - clean hospitals should be the norm rather than the exception!

    I agree with you about how sad the health service is beoming and I'm sorry to hear that your current experiences with the NHS are so bad.