An emphasis on compassion could actually be dangerous to the NHS, according to a medical ethics expert.
Dr Anna Smajdor, from Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, believes compassion is not necessarily the key to solving the NHS’s problems - especially if it is to the detriment of other important duties.
“Healthcare professionals are responsible for many individuals, working to fulfil many tasks as efficiently as possible - often in situations where time and resources are limited. It would be very dangerous to rely on compassion as the motivation that ensures the necessary tasks are carried out” she said.
In many ways it can actually be harmful for healthcare professionals to feel too much compassion, she concluded, because they may become deeply distressed by some of the things they witness, and are at risk of suffering burnout and fatigue, as well as becoming de-sensitised and damaged.
What do you think? Is the focus on compassion in healthcare a red herring?