Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Catholic archbishop criticises lack of compassion in NHS

  • 3 Comments

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has criticised the NHS for treating some patients with a lack of compassion.

In a homily delivered at a mass for the sick at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols quoted from the NHS Constitution, which pledges to “respond with humanity and kindness to each person’s pain, distress, anxiety or need”.

He said: “These are splendid sentiments, often they are fulfilled in NHS hospitals, for which so many are very grateful. But sometimes they are not, as some will know from personal experience.”

“Where this happens it is not simply a matter of the attitudes of individual, though of course that is part of the story. It is also about the prevailing culture in an institution, the pressures of control and delivery which can impair and diminish the ability of staff to care properly.”

During the service, he called for a “culture of compassion and healing” as the focus of the NHS, with the sick and dying comforted, instead of being treated as a burden. He said he hoped this would promote “care characterised by humility, respect, and a refusal to see patients as no more than a medical or behavioural problem to be tackled and resolved.”

Archbishop Nichols also spoke about the end of life care, saying that today’s society appeared not to know how to deal with death. He rejected the views of advocates of assisted suicide, emphasising that death is not just a clinical event and that the spiritual being of a person must be central to the care they receive at the time of death.

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • I WEAR MY CROSS ALWAYS AND ALSO WILL RERFUSE TO REMOVE IT THEN AGAIN WHEN ATTENDING TO PATIENTS I AM HAPPY TO HIDE IT AWAY UNDER MY UNIFORM I WEAR IT FOR MY COMFORT FOR ME.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I literally run all night to get my work done, so time for compassion is limited to a few seconds...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter Goble

    Two seconds compassion is better than none, Beth. Compassion isn't measured by how long it lasts, I reckon. A flash of a smile or a touch on the shoulder can work miracles if it comes from the right condition of your heart. Only you and your patient know what that means.

    It's totally lost on the bean-counters; that goes without saying.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.