Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson is a writer, broadcaster and columnist. She writes about politics, society, culture, travel, books and the arts. She has interviewed writers and artists ranging from Martin Amis to Eddie Izzard and Werner Herzog, and did the first interview after he left office with Gordon Brown. A former director of the Poetry Society, and literary programmer at the Southbank Centre, she has written for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Time, the Spectator and the New Statesman. She’s a regular commentator on radio and TV news programmes, a regular reviewer on the Sky News press preview, and a regular guest on The Review Show. She has campaigned to improve standards in nursing in a series of articles in the Independent, by speaking at conferences, and in programmes she has made for Radio 4 and The One Show. Christina is the only woman on the shortlist for the Orwell Prize 2013. She has now left The Independent, but can be contacted via her website, www.christinapatterson.co.uk .

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Day Five: My 10-point plan for change by Christina Patterson

1 Reinforce the responsibility of the ward sister for the quality of the nursing care delivered to all the patients on his or her ward.

Christina Patterson: Samantha Brick - The woman whose brief fame showed us that self-confidence can be a curse

Andy Warhol would have been amused. Andy Warhol, who hardly ever smiled, at least in photos, surely would have when he heard about a woman called Samantha Brick. He might even have laughed when he heard the tale of how a woman almost no one had heard of became famous, not just for 15 minutes, but for nearly two weeks. And not for anything she'd done, or even for being beautiful, but for thinking she was beautiful when quite a lot of people thought she wasn't.

Before Chief Nurse Gill Heaton arrived at Manchester Royal Infirmary, staff were 'disempowered' - it transformed from a hospital receiving terrible reports to one that's now described as 'exemplary'

The nurses who taught an ailing hospital how to care

Special report day four: There are no quick fixes to the nursing crisis – but, as the latest part of our investigation shows, there are examples of how to get it right

Florence Nightingale laid the foundations for modern nursing a century and a half ago with her work in the Crimea

How can a profession whose raison d'être is caring attract so much criticism for its perceived callousness? Does nursing need to be managed differently? Or is the answer to develop a new culture of compassion?

Day three: It is widely agreed that something has gone wrong with nursing. But are our nurses at fault? Or is Britain suffering from a wider malaise?

Christina Patterson: If even a Nobel laureate isn't allowed to speak out, then who is?

Grass is right to say the West's attitude to Israel's nuclear arsenal involves an awful lot of hypocrisy

Chloe Nightingale, pictured next to a statue of namesake Florence, says the standard of hospital care today is 'generally appalling'

Reforms in the 1990s were supposed to make nursing care better. Instead, there's a widely shared sense that this was how today's compassion deficit began. How did we come to this?

The second part of our week-long series on the crisis of caring in British nursing addresses the question of what, precisely, has gone wrong

A nurse at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham

Christina Patterson: More nurses, better paid than ever – so why are standards going down?

Respect for the nursing profession has been transformed – but not everyone believes patients are feeling the benefit

A nurse at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham helps to move a patient. Many people complain of poor treatment at hospitals

A crisis in nursing: Six operations, six stays in hospital – and six first-hand experiences of the care that doesn't care enough

Special Report, Day one: NHS organisation is at the top of the political agenda. But what about the vital basics that more and more patients say are being neglected?

Penny from 'The Undateables' wants to date a tall policeman

Christina Patterson: Yes, love can be blind, disfigured and autistic. It can also be touching and fun

Planning something as simple as a date," said a man called Richard, "can be very stressful." Some of us could have told him that before. Dates, as those of us who have been on more than we've had hot dinners know, are stressful. They're stressful even when you're meant to have fairly good social skills. God only knows what they're like if you have Asperger's.

Christina Patterson: Not just unprepared for university, but for life

You don't need to be a 'tiger mother' to think most children are not being stretched enough
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Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there