Nurses are to be scored on how compassionate they are towards patients as part of a government plan to improve quality in the NHS ...
The health secretary, Alan Johnson, wants the performance of every nursing team in every ward across England to be measured, with the results published on an official website.He believes putting a smile on the face of nurses and encouraging empathetic care is as important to recovery as the skill of doctors in the operating theatre.
What is more the Royal College of Nursing is colluding in this, "the RCN would work with the government to establish a scientific measure of compassion and quality".
So, health regulators are to compile a compassion index are they? And just how do you scientifically measure compassion? And what about those that fall behind in the compassion tables? Do they urge themselves, like Boxer in Animal Farm, to work harder to become more compassionate by the day or will they become even grumpier out of resentment?
I have a modest proposal for putting a smile on the faces of nurses. Take all the compassion enumerators, remove them from the payroll, preferably with quite a few other management types, especially if accompanied by some form of ritual humiliation like naming on a web site, and then give all the money saved to the nurses as a pay rise or use it to fund better equipment and cleaner wards. Simple - and scientific.