Intelligent Kindness (BOK)
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In recent years, the National Health Service has been subjected to round after round of reforms, each seemingly more radical than the last, and coming in quicker succession. Yet morale within the service has never been so low. By focusing only on targets, budgets and market economics, NHS reform has left health service staff feeling alienated and service users underserved. How can this be fixed? By restoring to the NHS its core founding principles - kindness and compassion within a service that functions for the common good must be at the centre of any reforms that have a chance to succeed. John Ballatt and Penelope Campling argue that the NHS is a system that invites society to value and attend to its deepest common interests and connectedness. It is an expression of community, and one that can improve (in terms of quality and efficiency) if society, patients and staff can reconnect to these deeper values. The NHS is, or should be, an embodiment of kinship, and its expression in the compassionate relationship between the skilled clinician and the patient. To fail to attend to promoting kinship, connectedness and kindness between staff and with patients is to fail to address a key dimension of health service provision. The authors adapt approaches from psychotherapy to present a radical way of looking at improving the NHS, and the delivery of healthcare. The book offers arguments for policy makers, managers, educators and clinical staff to consider the delivery of care and treatment as expressions of compassion, and challenges readers to think about improvement of services with that at the centre of their thinking. It suggests ways of looking at improvement of quality and efficiency that may be much more effective, as well as improving commitment and morale on the part of staff. This book will be essential reading for health service managers, clinical leads, politicians, policy makers and health journalists.