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Improving responsiveness to patients has been a goal of health policy in the United Kingdom for several decades. Until now, most initiatives in this area have failed to change noticeably the everyday experience of most patients in the NHS. The harsh realities of budgetary pressures, staff shortages, and other managerial imperatives tend to displace good intentions about informing and involving patients, responding quickly and effectively to patients’ needs and wishes, and ensuring that patients are treated in a dignified and supportive manner. This is the essence of patient centred care, and most health professionals strive to achieve it. Many clinical staff, however, feel that demands for them to improve efficiency and productivity have restricted their ability to offer the time and empathy that patients need and hope for.