Doctors and nurses to get training in being nice

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The next time your GP greets you with a broad smile, gestures for you to take a seat and whispers: "In your own time, please tell me what's wrong," you could be forgiven for thinking the NHS has become a little friendlier.

The next time your GP greets you with a broad smile, gestures for you to take a seat and whispers: "In your own time, please tell me what's wrong," you could be forgiven for thinking the NHS has become a little friendlier.

Under a new government initiative, heart-warmingly entitled the "new joint training across professions in communication skills", doctors, nurses and midwives are to get training in being nice.

From later this year all NHS health professionals will receive help with their "communication skills". Psychologists will run the classes, which will be given to all those within the service used to dealing with difficult situations.

The hope at the Department of Health is that help in public relations and psychology will prevent the gaffes or insensitive outbursts that can upset patients and cause unwelcome headlines. Ministers are also concerned that patients faced with bad news about a diagnosis are met with sensitivity.

Opposition MPs reacted with scepticism to news of the scheme. Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman and a former hospital doctor, queried whether people who spend their working lives communicating needed classes run by psychologists, saying: "I hope that the lessons will not be an exercise in teaching people to spin bad news."

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