Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management


“Humanising Healthcare” Leadership Forum, Tuesday 18 May 2021


Better Conversations, Better Outcomes: Love over Fear in Health Care, John Sturrock

Firstly, may I say what a privilege it is to address this event. I also want to say thank you to all of you who are in any way involved in the front line – especially, but not only, during the pandemic. I know from my own experience carrying out the review in NHS Highland two years ago and from the many concerns expressed in recent times by, for example, the BMA, that being a health care professional in whatever role is not easy, is demanding and frequently must feel undervalued and not appreciated at the best of times. It is very hard for you to meet expectations, especially at the moment.

So, to my talk. I have chosen the title Better Conversations, Better Outcomes: Love over Fear in Health Care for two reasons: firstly, I think it nicely summarises what humanising working in health care is all about; and secondly and more randomly perhaps, the last music gig I managed to get to before lockdown began in March 2020 was a concert by one of my favourite progressive rock bands, Pendragon, who played the whole of their then just released and magnificent new album entitled: Love over Fear. We rocked the night away in the Green Hotel in Kinross.

There is a song from that album entitled “Who Really Are We?” with the following lyrics: “So don’t become one of the blamers, look deep within, and find love over fear”.  Let’s pause for a moment, just to reflect on those words. “So don’t become one of the blamers, look deep within, and find love over fear”. Now, I invite you to think about a
situation you face at work, at home, or with other people in your life: what do these words mean to you: “don’t become one of the blamers”….“look deep within”…. “find love over fear…”?

I’d like to see this occasion as an invitation to ask yourselves some questions; after all it was Tolstoy who said something to the effect that most of us are trying to change other people when the only person we can really change is ourselves. Gandhi and Mandela said much the same. And yet we ourselves are probably the most difficult person to change.


Read the full text here.



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