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Valuing and prioritising care

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The apparent demise of the 'caring nurse' is a hot topic.A series of critical reports on patient care (including publications from the Care Quality Commission and the Consumers' Association) fuelled negative media coverage earlier this year and prompted the prime minister's launch of an independent body called the Nursing and Care Quality forum.

The forum has a remit to identify and spread best practice in areas including ensuring 'the right culture and the right values that put patients first prevail at all times' and that health services 'involve, listen to, hear and respond to feedback from patients'. It also aims to ensure 'those providing care have the time to do so properly'(see box).

Stories of neglect
In our increasingly media-controlled world, stories of poor care are publicised widely. High profile figures relate personal tales of relatives subjected to physical and mental discomfort.

Stories of neglect sell. I have periodically taken part in a local radio chat show. For each show, there is an 'entertaining' story and a 'heart-wrenching' story. The media relies on stirring emotions and one sure way to keep your audience tuned in is exploitation of the vulnerable.

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