Good customer service. We all want it, but it can sometimes be a tricky thing to get right. Especially when it comes to healthcare.
Getting the right treatment at the right time is part of it, but good healthcare is so much more than just good quality treatment.
It comes down to compassion. And compassion has not always been given the importance it deserves.
It has been argued that in a culture of targets, based on clinical and financial outcomes, compassion has taken a backseat. But this is changing.
Recently, I spent some time in hospital with a very ill relative. The team caring for him were excellent but it wasn't just about what they did, it was the way that they did it.
It was the way the nurse sat with him and spoke reassuringly when he was confused. It was the way the senior doctor in charge took time to sit down with our family, listen to us and answer all our questions. It was the way the cleaner made a point of changing the noisy metal bins quietly when he was sleeping. And it was the way, on a particularly hot day, one of the nurses searched around and found an extra fan for his room to keep him comfortable.
This was in stark contrast to some of the wards we had experienced in the past. And it made all the difference.
Bringing about a culture change to make the quality of care as important as the quality of treatment across the whole health and care system has become a top priority. And we’ve been thinking about how digital engagement might be useful in supporting this agenda.
One of the things we’ve done is start to showcase some of the work on compassionate care
We’ve started by setting out what the government is doing to support this culture change, highlighting what others are saying about compassionate care, both good and bad, and pointing to some interesting and exciting projects already underway.
There is already a great deal of interesting digital discussion taking place about compassionate care. I’m hoping to highlight more examples of what good compassionate care looks like and the difference it makes to patients, and staff. It’s a work in progress so I’d be interested to hear your ideas.
From my time in hospital, there are lots of things I remember. It was a difficult time. But I can honestly say that the compassion and kindness of the staff has stuck with me, and is remembered and talked about by all my family.
I am really excited to see compassion in care getting the recognition it deserves. And I hope our work in the digital team can help build on this over the coming months.