Hearts In Healthcare

The tide of compassion is rising!

crowd of paper men

Here’s a good news story to help end your year on a positive note 🙂

Did you know that a mayor of an American city just won a landslide election victory on a policy platform of human kindness? Tom Tait is the re-elected Mayor of the City of Anaheim in California and we caught up with him during the ‘Compassion Week’ in San Francisco. He shared the stage with three other mayors at the Empathy and Compassion in Society conference.


In Australia, what was the public reaction to the hostage drama in Sydney, when an Islamic gunman held hostage and killed innocent victims? Rather than a tidal-wave of Islamophobia, citizens united to offer support to Muslim Australians, as reported by ABC News in Sydney. The news channel had calls from Muslim listeners who say they are too scared to ride on public transport at the moment. Within hours a new tag on Twitter #illridewithyou had over 120,000 Tweets worldwide.


On a similar note, an inspiring story in the NY Times relates how in Denmark they are attempting to rehabilitate Jihadists returning from fighting in Syria, rather than criminalise them.


The international Charter for Compassion is a rapidly growing movement. In 2013, there were 98 Compassionate Communities and 127 Charter Partners – organisations that have pledge to support the Charter for Compassion. At the end of 2014, there are now over 250 Compassionate Communities and more than 1,000 Partners. For more great news about how the Charter for Compassion is influencing the world, see their newsletter, “We’re spreading the word“. 


Google search for ‘compassion + healthcare‘ in 2006 yielded only 3,000 ‘hits’ and most of those were irrelevant. In the whole world, we couldn’t find any document about healthcare strategy or quality improvement that included the word ‘compassion’. Now the same search yields 23 million ‘hits’ – an extraordinary  change. Try it yourself and marvel at the results!


At Hearts in Healthcare we have noticed a major change in the last year. Suddenly we are getting multiple invitations to present at speciality medical conferences, we are finding support from quality improvement bodies like the Clinical Excellence Commission in Sydney (video here), and we’re appreciating approaches from government health leaders in Australia and New Zealand. The tide has turned.

An editorial in the Postgraduate Medical Journal recently profiled the work of Dr Robin Youngson, Co-Founder of Hearts in Healthcare, and concluded: The question is not ‘How can we afford compassionate care’ but ‘How can we afford NOT to rehumanize our healthcare system?’ A good question, indeed!

TIME TO CARE, the book that launched the movement is now published in Dutch and the German translation will be completed in January. The next stop on our international networking is in Saudi Arabia. Our international movement is gathering pace.

Leave a Reply

“When all members of an organization are motivated to understand and value the most favourable features of its culture, it can make rapid improvements.”