The NHS was founded in 1948 as an expression of a core national value of compassion: a post-war generation made a commitment to providing free health care for all those who needed it, regardless of status, wealth, ethnicity, age, gender or any other characteristic.'

The new Kings Fund report, Caring to change, looks at how compassionate leadership can stimulate further innovation in health care. The report has been launched on 9 May.

This paper looks at compassion – which involves attending, understanding, empathising and helping – as a core cultural value of the NHS and how compassionate leadership results in a working environment that encourages people to find new and improved ways of doing things.

It also describes four key elements of a culture for innovative, high-quality and continually improving care and what they mean for patients, staff and the wider organisation:

  • inspiring vision and strategy
  • positive inclusion and participation
  • enthusiastic team and cross-boundary working
  • support and autonomy for staff to innovate.

The paper also presents case studies of how compassionate leadership has led to innovation. This work was supported by the Health Foundation.

Read the full paper