News: Cancer charity issues warning over future of end of life care

End of life care will be placed under “an intolerable strain” in coming years, according to a new analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support.

By 2020, nearly 144,000 people a year in England will die of cancer – the equivalent of one person dying from the disease every four minutes, the charity has estimated.


Calling for more investment in community services, Macmillan said the figures highlighted an urgent need to tackle the country’s “deeply imperfect” approach to end of life care.

An independent review of choice in end of life care that was commissioned by ministers and published last year made a raft of recommendations, including the need to expand out-of-hours community services.

The government has yet to respond to the recommendations, but Macmillan said they should be funded in full.

“It is shocking to think that one person will die of cancer every four minutes, but worse still that many people dying of cancer may not get the care they need, and that their final wishes will remain unfulfilled,” said Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support.

“For many people with cancer, as well as other conditions, ‘a good death’ is possible, but it requires resources, particularly for district and community nursing teams,” said Amanda Cheesley, RCN professional lead for long term conditions and end of life care.

“It’s also something we need to be much better at talking about otherwise underfunding and pressures will mean more dying people in hospital against their wishes,” said Ms Cheesley.

Original news source:

Relevant events:

Using Empathy Effectively with Difficult Conversations in End of Life Care and Breaking Bad News   

EOL “Doctors need the time, support and sufficient training necessary for caring for people at their end of life.” Dr Ian Wilson, BMA, March 2016
Description: This one-day course is designed specifically for who are likely to be delivering bad news or dealing with difficult and sensitive conversations and situations. The aim is to understand and develop key skills including empathy and strategies essential to improve empathic responses; these skills are based on proven protocols used to deliver bad news. Finally, a tool kit style check-list will be provided to help Clinicians develop these skills.   Tuesday 5th July – Stevenage     


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3 Core Conditions that make a difference 

CQC to carry out inspections of how trusts learn from deaths




Blog: 3 Core Conditions that make a difference

Through all my counselling work, I am familiar with the process of either one to one counselling or that of self help groups and feel that they are a helpful part of society. It is often the case however that society sees them as a waste of time. A waste of resources and the pandering and pampering of individuals who are not able to deal with the real world. There of course is a danger of this, but in understanding the human mind and the complexities of human needs and emotions, we as fellow human beings are more able to address issues, that have long term effects on individuals and society.

Not long after I became a ‘bereaved mother’, I read an article where the author felt that counselling was a complete waste of time and ‘one would be better off getting on their hands and knees and washing the kitchen floor’. That in itself was funny to me as anyone who knows me would fall about laughing at just the suggestion of me being a domestic Goddess!!! However my lack of that tidy and domestic gene aside (much to my mums frustration!), the point the author was making way that you need to work through your problems and you feel better for getting on with normal every day life jobs, that we all have to do, opposed to ‘sitting in a room and getting sympathy’. She had a point, in the sense that we can’t change bad things that have happen to us and nor can we always prevent further bad things from occurring. Therefore one could take the attitude – accept your lot and deal with it….help yourself.

What troubled me about this view point was, in ‘dealing’ with ones life, often means addressing those very issues that are causing you to need help in the first place. No matter how much I wished it to be different, the death of a much loved 15 year old daughter was now my ‘normal every day’ life. Coping with it was in fact my new ‘normal every day job’.

I am nothing if not open and transparent about my emotions, so the following is an extract from my diary the day before I read this particular article.

7pm 15 August 2003: Having a terrible evening. I keep looking at her last photo and watching videos and thinking, she looks so happy. Imagine if someone had said to her in 5 weeks ‘ you will be dead’. How terrified she would be. What if she is feeling that fear now and is all alone and scared.  I can’t stop crying and feel so physically in pain with grief, it is so hard writing this. Everyone else in the house is are either out or asleep and I don’t know what to do or how to cope. I don’t know who to ring. I feel desperate and lonely, like I have lost my way. I have my days and some nights filled, but nothing seems to have much point any more. Why do I keep watching these videos, it is like torture, yet it is all I have of her and I can’t stop.

10pm: In desperation I have phoned the child bereavement helpline and spoke to a lady. She just listened, listened to all those awful feelings and she also shared the loss of her child as well. Nothing has changed but I felt calmer when I came off the phone. I felt understood. I think I can sleep now. Maybe I will make it through to another day.

My reason for sharing that is to ask the question…Was the fact that I called for help that evening, which came in the form of talking, listening and empathising (her for me and me for her). would be classed by that particular author that I was not accepting my lot or dealing with it? Is it more expected that I should in fact go and wash my kitchen floor and get on with life?

Now, I know, my experience was probably extreme, but when I went through this I was 33. I was not a child at a fundamental stage of development. This event has undoubtedly shaped who I have become, my attitudes, my beliefs, my education, life choices, business and my contribution to society. However there are people who face as children many difficult emotions. There are many young, middle aged and older adults that carry with them their own life story to date and we don’t know what it is. This is why I believe in empathy. It gives you power to understand another.  That is exactly what I got from that phone call. Not sympathy, not fixing. In fact what I got, was the basis of Humanistic (Rogerian) counselling. and the Core Conditions that founding father Carl Rogers stated as necessary to enable someone in a therapeutic setting to reach the best outcome. These Core Conditions formed the basis of my counselling training when I was in my early 20’s and were instrumental in seeing the world of the clinicians who I felt had let my girl down. So today, I wish to share them, in their simplest form, with you

Core Condition #1 – Empathy

Refereed to sometimes frame of reference. Understand thoughts and the feelings as the other person experiences them. This is a powerful attribute when used effectively and sets the scene for good communication. What is that other person really experiencing? And knowing this, how should that affect my response?

Core Condition #2 – Congurance

This is being genuine and real. This condition is important as it allows another person to build a trusting relationship. People know when you a false and will affect how and what they share and how they perceive you.

Core Condition #3 – Unconditional Positive Regard

This allows the someone to open up and speak about their difficulties without a fear of being criticised or judged. Emotions are present in us all and some are difficult and often we need just acceptance. It can be a relief , liberating and refreshing to talk about how you feel without someone saying, ‘Why on earth did you do that?’ or ‘Do you think you should be still feeling that? Listening with empathy, enables this to occur.

If maybe we, as individuals can practice these skills, rather than thinking of communication as a set of magic words. If Leaders and Managers used these Core Conditions in there communication and attitudes to the workforce. If society viewed it as more mandatory from school education onwards and within business schools and organisations. Maybe the compassionate care, that is so wished for, would have a better basis to enable all those compassionate people already to thrive. Nowhere is this more important than looking after our doctors and nurses and enabling them to thrive, to be able to look after us and help us thrive.

Have a great day and thanks for reading.

C&C Empathy Training run courses on:

Using Empathy Effectively to Aid Communication

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Using Empathy to Handle Difficult Conversations in End of Life Care

Using Mindfulness & Emotional Development to promote Staff Well-Being

Click for forthcoming dates and venues

Conference speaking and keynote address can also be booked on multiple subjects:

Using Empathy and Emotional Development Conference Subjects

See some of our testimonials here:

Blog: The importance of supporting staff: Suicide rate has links to turnover of mental health nurses

We are all full of stress at times. We can all walk a fine line between coping and not coping with life. I know I certainly have been on that line, sometimes stepping from one side to another, desperately trying to spend more time on the ‘coping’ side. Having self awareness of your emotions, but also genuine empathy, support and understanding often enables you carry on in situations that were more than you thought you could cope with.

Conversely, feeling unsupported and alone, can be isolating and in the world of health and social care where emotional labour can be heavy, it is not surprising that educated, compassionate professionals leave the profession or at least move organisations, rather than ‘go under’.

In the Nursing Times article published yesterday, a report was highlighted stating that:

Mental health services with higher levels of staff turnover have higher patient suicide rates, according to UK researchers.

The study found suicide rates were higher in mental health trusts with the highest levels of staff turnover, especially for nursing, suggesting the importance of organisational factors.

So not only do the staff suffer an emotional cost when the organisational culture is not set up to support their psychological well-being. Financial cost to the organisation with such a high staff turn over is also added to the mix. Yet this report suggests there is another cost, the mental well-being and lives of patients.

I won’t beat around the bush here….this is my passion and what I do training in, along with former nurse and friend Vanessa Carter. Kind of  a give away with the company name of C&C Empathy Training isn’t it?! Empathy envoy blog too is hardly subtle either!  So it won’t shock you to know that I am big on empathy of others and have been ever since I can remember. I have seen the affect of its presence and of its absence. I have studied it academically for over 20 years. But, here is the crux of the matter for me. Having stepped over the wrong side of that ‘fine line’ on a personal level, most significantly, after losing a child and all the life long implications that overwhelmed my family, let alone all the questions that I needed answering, I had something that protected me. Something that I have no doubt, even 13 years later, that saved me.

Having already studied counselling, I had my own self awareness during those times to analyse and work out complex emotions.  Importantly though I had a strong sense of the care of others, empathic, supportive care that helped my very fragile world fit with theirs still. They worked with me rather than expecting me to suppress my emotions. They worked to my strengths and as tough as it was, it worked.  In having a few empathic people around me that worked with the circumstances of my life, rather than ignoring them, was a very powerful skill. This, I have no doubt, was an intrinsic part of my very happy survival.

As organisations and leaders, those who work with them (their staff) to make the organisation they lead effective, successful and with integrity, need to create a culture that emulates those attributes to their staff first and foremost. Failing to do this, as this report demonstrates, can not only negatively affect the staff and their well-being, but have further far reaching consequences.

Tomorrow: The 3 Core Conditions that can make a difference.

Original News Source:


Using Mindfulness and Emotional Development to Promote Staff Well-being


News: The quality of GP practice complaint handling across England appears mixed and highly variable

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) stated in a report (March 2016) about complaint handling, that on the one hand, they were reassured to find that over half (55%) of the 137 cases looked at were outstanding (9%) or good (46%) they remained concerned about the 45% who are not handling complaints well. – Dame Julie Mellor DBE Chair and Ombudsman, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman March 2016

We are all so lucky to have the NHS and the tremendous doctors, nurses, and all those who make it possible. Through our life time, you may see a cardiologist, I may need to see an Oncologist, your child may need a Paediatrician, and my mum may need a Geriatrician. What is certain though, we will all need need a GP. We will all need them to reassure us, to understand us, to diagnose in a small amount of time why we are there. To often understand complex family situations that are permeating into our physical and psychological well being, I know my GP has had to do that with me. Losing a child and the complex aftermath that saturated my entire life and that of my family  was no easy task. One though, I am grateful to say, was managed.

This is not always the case and not always through anyone’s fault but by a lack of understanding, work stress, organisational culture, lack of appropriate training that gets to the core of a complaint…the human person. That’s right…not the process, not the policy, but the person. When things go wrong, patients and loved ones complain and conflict escalates as both parties consciously and unconsciously endeavour to get the other to see their world. They are requiring empathy for what they are or have gone through.This report from the Health Ombudsman draws attention to difficulties highlighted and training recommendations as a need from both their perspective and from practice staff to help them understand complaints better.

Areas where improvement was most needed overall were the latter stages of the journey; practices were weakest at making sure that complaints resulted in the right outcome for people and that they had learned from the complaints. The tone of the response and providing an adequate explanation were assessed as being clear areas for improvement.

Higher levels of inadequate complaint handling were apparent when it came to acknowledging mistakes, preventing the same thing happening again, acting in line with guidance when giving a response and giving an appropriate apology. This may make individuals feel less confident to complain again.” Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary Health Ombudsman

The report went on to highlight 5 key points to be addressed and recommendations:

Report Recommendations:  Education and training

The PHSO heard that practice staff would welcome education and training to help them understand how to deal with feedback, concerns and complaints more effectively. In addition to work being led by NHS England to ensure primary care complaint handlers have access to high quality and relevant training, we consider the GMC’s current consultation to be important.

Original report source:

Relevant Training Courses:

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Delegate feedback comments
“This will be relevant to those investigating complaints /directly involved in complaints”
“Amazing. Loved it, a fascinating insight. Would highly recommend”

Courses running on:

26 May 2016 – MILTON KEYNES

20 June 2016 – STEVENAGE

23 June 2016 – SHEFFIELD

12 July 2016 – BOURNEMOUTH




See our new training courses putting psychological well-being and honesty at the heart of training, practice and communication

C&C Empathy Training Ltd promote their courses that deliver the science behind empathy and honest communication through thought provoking and educative material.

We run courses on:

Using Empathy Effectively to Aid Communication

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Using Empathy to Handle Difficult Conversations in End of Life Care

Using Mindfulness & Emotional Development to promote Staff Well-Being

Click for forthcoming dates and venues

Conference speaking and keynote address can also be booked on multiple subjects:

Using Empathy and Emotional Development Conference Subjects

See some of our testimonials here:



News: CQC to carry out inspections of how trusts learn from deaths

The CQC will implement recommendations following the scandal at Southern Health by investigating how all acute, community and mental health trusts learn from the deaths of patients.

The regulator will also seek to find out how trusts involve families and how they learn from the results, with a particular focus on the deaths of patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems. They will then conduct phone interviews with 30 trusts and visit 12.

The announcement follows a recommendation from health secretary Jeremy Huntas part of the government’s response to the scandal at Southern Health trust, which the CQC found recently is still failing to address safety concerns despite the Mazars report criticising the trust for investigating just 13% of 1,454 deaths of patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Very many people are under the care of secondary healthcare services at the time of their death.

“For most, the care provided has prolonged their life, eased their suffering and helped them to die with dignity. However, this is not the case for everybody. Every year thousands of people under the care of NHS trusts die prematurely because their treatment or care has not been as good as it could have been. Healthcare workers might have failed to identify an illness that could have been treated, not provided the advice that might have prevented an illness developing, not made a life-saving intervention with a person who is critically ill or made some other error that contributed to a premature death.

“It is essential that, when this happens, NHS services identify and investigate the circumstances of these deaths so that staff can learn from them and reduce the likelihood of a similar event happening in the future. It is also essential, that NHS providers are open and honest with the families and carers of people who die whilst under their care.”

Original source:,45TL7,6VW20A,F4RZD,1

Relevant events:

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Running on

26 May – Milton Keynes

20 May – Stevenage

23 May – Sheffield

12 July – Bournemouth

14 July – Milton Keynes

Recent Blog by C&C Empathy Training Ltd: Red and yellow will never make green in NHS complaints investigations








Blog: Red and yellow will never make green

A benefit of having counselling and psychology training before you go through watching someone you love die and feeling that opportunities may have been missed (as I had), is that you have tools to unpick some of the complex emotions evoked and reactions experienced.

You ask questions of not only the facts, but the reactions of the individuals involved, the organisation, culture and indeed of your own reactions.  Whilst obscured for a time by shock and grief, a strong sense of empathy and my own emotional development, as is imperative within psychological therapy training, enabled me to slowly see both the world of the medical team and indeed the Trust.

I needed to understand their hospitals reactions, despite how wrong it all felt and knowing the need to still challenge them. This in turn, enabled me, to understand what barriers might be preventing, what felt like the most important thing in the world…honesty and compassion.

However, skills of empathy toward me were missing greatly from the staff and organisation at large, which appeared, unable to look after my well-being in any way, let alone giving me any confidence that they cared enough about what happened to investigate well.

As a consequence, conflict, anger and distrust manifested itself, and further far reaching damage prevailed.  Preventing psychological harm to me and my family, was not, it appeared on anyone’s radar, apart from mine, and as we hear over and over again, is still not a priority in practice.

At its most basic level, the Trust not wishing to hear the basic facts that I witnessed, demonstrated no empathy to me for what had happened, what I had seen and what I was left handling. Compromising not only my well-being but any chance of ‘lessons learnt’ Continue reading