We believe that:
- Most people go into healthcare intending to do good.
- Many people lose sight of humanity early in their medical career.
- Every person is of equal worth.
- Every person has unique attributes, unique vulnerability and unique preferences; a humane system would understand and respect this uniqueness.
- Every person – staff, patient, carer – is entitled to treat and be treated with respect, dignity and kindness.
- Every person should be able to contribute to decisions relating to his or her care.
- Episodes of care are only part of the journey; care must be taken to forge links between these episodes and the people who (ad)minister them.
- Relationships are key to the process of healing; stories are a shortcut to intimacy.
- Stories move (Kotter: The heart of change; Martel (above) and, of course, Gandhi).
Our proposed actions are to:
- Plan a ‘Humanising healthcare’ conference, to be held, ideally, in 2008.
- Continue to develop and raise awareness of the Patient Voices programme.
- Continue to talk to people about the importance of stories in health and social care – particularly seeing stories are a reflection of our humanity.
- Situate the notion of humanising healthcare in the leadership agenda (particularly via the Health Foundation Leadership Fellows) and develop awareness and skills of ‘servant leaders’.
- Write some occasional papers on our experiences of telling, sharing and using stories in our work.