Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hypocrisy on health care

How sodding typical of the sinister pomposity of late capitalism that the solution given for the undeniable problems of our beseiged health service is that staff need to be more caring. I predict the introduction of some sort of 'charter', NVQs in compassion and recruitment procedures to test 'emotional intelligence. I have already heard on the radio this morning that customer care lessons are to be taken from John Lewis...and Starbucks.

For five months of last year I watched with anger, frustration and heart-break, my mum die in an acute dementia ward.

The agony of a condition that robs the patient of dignity and of self was compounded at times by what seemed to me like a lack of compassion or respect, and even neglect. But I was also overwhelmed by the kindness and patience of many of the people working in the hospital.

In fact those qualities seemed to be most evident in some of most 'menial' support staff - auxilaries, porters, cleaners etc. The further up the chain of command the more likely it seemed to be that you would find - not  exactly callousness - but a brusqueness and general lack of warmth.

And that's a clue to what should be bleeding obvious. Doctors and nurses were universally stressed and hemmed in by procedures, policies and bureaucracy. And most of all there were never enough of them to take the precious few minutes that constitute 'kindness'.

They don't need charters and courses on caring - they need to know that they have the support and respect of the people who run the health service - and the best way of demonstrating this would be by massively increasing and improving the resources they work with. Not being treated like a failing business to be asset-stripped and flogged off to the highest bidder.

1 comment:

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