A new publication from the SAPC Special Interest Group in Compassion.

Title: New Perspectives in Compassion for Tomorrow's Doctors

DOI link:

This book was conceived at the annual scientific meeting in Exeter (2019) and the emphasis is on Leicester undergraduates where I work who will be tomorrow’s doctors and their new perspectives on that most important area of clinical practice, compassion, which is hugely difficult to measure or define. 

The students provide amazing new insights and the book finishes with the reflections of experienced and retired colleagues. If the future doctors that we are training are not better than us, then we have failed as medical teachers. The book opens with two colleagues who consider compassion and how it is changing as a result of the current pandemic. 

So much for us to think about for the future and when the Special Interest Group in Compassion next meets. 

About the Compassion SIG

This special interest group was established in 2015 to raise awareness of compassion in health care and its implications for health care education in primary care.

Here are the key aims:

  • Maintaining compassion whilst working in the NHS
  • Defining compassion through research and the factors that influence compassion in the consultation such as resilience
  • Ascertaining ways in which awareness can be heightened and also how this can be achieved through the undergraduate and postgraduate training of health care professionals
  • Running a workshop at the annual SAPC conference and where possible locality conferences
  • Creating an annual prize for students / trainees for a piece of reflective writing (prose or poetry) on a defined theme relating to compassion in healthcare

Members of the group will be clinicians and non clinicians in the SAPC and beyond with an emphasis on primary care.  We plan to involve the RCGP national patient-participation group.

The group was formed in July 2015 following a workshop on compassion at the SAPC annual scientific meeting in Oxford (8-10 July 2015).  We started the group with a core of > 10 people including colleagues from New Zealand.

If you would like to join the group or would like more information please get in touch.

Contact: Rodger Charlton

Please see our reports below about our activities.

Meeting in 2018

In 2018 the Compassion SIG held a workshop on July 10th at the SAPC Conference in London. We revisited thoughts about compassion, how it is taught and researched, but most importantly how it is conveyed to patients in the NHS at a time of huge pressures and so answer 4 questions;

  1. What is Compassion? Can it be defined?
  2. Can you teach doctors to be compassionate?
  3. Is there such a thing as dispassion?
  4. Can we write a compassion protocol?

It was a great opportunity to hear what everyone else was doing in the area of compassion as many were working and writing about compassion eg the new Darwin Centre Trust in Shrewsbury and the International Institute for the Study of Compassion.

Rodger Charlton 

Professor of Undergraduate Primary Care Education

Centre for Medicine

University of Leicester