Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Compassion Targets

Just when you think the world couldn't get any more absurd a news story comes along that shows you how wrong you were...

"Compassion is listed as a core value in the draft constitution for the NHS in England, and the government is developing methods for measuring it." (from the BBC website).

I rarely find myself speechless for long, but...

OK, let's try and reconstruct the sequence that got us here...
  1. We need a better health service.
  2. If we set targets then performance will improve.
  3. Oh dear, staff are busy meeting targets, so don't have time for patients.
  4. Compassion is important and a word that it is difficult to argue with.
  5. Let's set a target for compassion.
There are so many flaws in the idea of measuring compassion that it is difficult to know where to begin. So I won't.

The whole idea seems to reflect an incompetence that we have been seeing increasingly over the years. At some stage our government got the impression that they were in charge of us, rather than our elected representatives and servants. Let us hope that some way will be found to change the ethos of all our politicians. They ought to realise that they are trusted by their electorate to think things through and do the right thing.

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