I have been thinking about this concept for several years.

This is an excerpt from a Rapid Response  published by the British Medical Journal on 6th August 2008:

What We Need is Competent Compassion


I often feel that I may be the first person in any sort of authority who has actually listened to the patient and taken some time to try and understand where they are coming from – and “any sort of authority” includes any parental figures as well. There is always a reason why people behave the way they do – and if we bother to listen and ask enough, it will usually become evident. When we come to that point – where we get a flavour of someones really difficult life circumstances often from childhood and compounded over the years – then only the most hard hearted doctor can fail to be moved. By all means judge the actions – but it is not our place to condemn the person. I believe we should be aiming for “Competent Compassion” in our practice. If we are competent without being compassionate or compassionate without being competent, then we fail our patient either way.


Dr Joss Bray

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1092 (Published 06 August 2008)

Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1092 


Since then I have discussed competent compassion with many people at a local and national level who care for and treat others.

This website was set up in October 2014 and is in ongoing development – so apologies whilst we get all the content up and running.

Some more letters:

Letter in the December 2014 issue of Drink and Drugs News