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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project