At last month’s NHS England board meeting chief nursing officer Jane Cummings seemed surprised by the dramatic response her talk on compassionate care received.
As she settled in to her subject - the six Cs to help create a culture of compassion among nurses and midwives - a fire alarm cut her off mid-flow.
Ms Cummings said this was the first time she had received such a strong response to anything she had to say.
The raucous laughter following this statement did require some courage and commitment but perhaps didn’t show the level of compassion that Ms Cummings was hoping her talk would bring about.
The fact that the meeting had been preceded by a statement that there would be no fire alarm test but a notice stating that a fire drill would take place was later visible in the building’s foyer perhaps indicate that care, competence and communication had also been somewhat absent.