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Brown, K. (2016). Attachment and the NHS (or “Attachment at Work, Jeremy”). Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(2):vii-xi.
(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(2):vii-xi
Attachment and the NHS (or “Attachment at Work, Jeremy”)
“Politicians must understand their moral duty in caring for those who care for the most vulnerable in society—ensuring that those who have to deliver compassionate care, are also the recipients of it.”
Gerada and Haig, 2014
When the journal group met to discuss this issue of our journal, there was a question about the theme of the editorial. It was a week when junior doctors had been on strike for the third time since the founding of the NHS in the UK, and the first time junior doctors had decided to withdraw emergency medical cover. We agreed it was important to say something about the social and political context in which the journal was being published at this time. To not consider these issues would be an avoidance and a denial. We feel there is an important discussion about attachment perspectives on relationships that patients have with health care professionals, especially their doctors, which is relevant at this time.
The theme of relationships that patients have with their doctors and nurses is undeniably emotive, and we all have deeply personal and private experiences and stories about our interactions with medics. Doctors, nurses, midwives all see us when we are at our most vulnerable, when we are born, when we are dying, when we are ill. It is a privileged social position that they are in, which might create fear and envy, or trust and respect. They impart bad news, or sometimes the best of news such as “your cancer is in remission” or that “your baby is healthy”. A sign of luck or health is to never need to see them again. Sometimes they impart news with sensitivity, professionalism, tact, and care, sometimes they do not. Some might fail to see us when we really wish they would, or see things that we really wish they had not. The emotional impact that this has on the professionals can scarcely be under-estimated.
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