Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Compassion is an attribute of a person’s affective understanding, which aims to enable, so far as possible, shared experiences of the world’s ills and some alleviation of those ills’ effects. Such an attribute is thus of great value within healthcare institutions such as general practices and other primary and community healthcare settings. Primary and community healthcare services, rooted in locality and conversant with that locality’s cultures, are well placed to cultivate such civic discourse as the context in which compassion may be richly practised and experienced. An important factor shaping this experience is the way that time and compassion are bound up with justice. Rather, as an attribute of understanding, compassion may infuse the whole encounter, focusing attention in listening, assessment and diagnosis, consideration of the proper use of time and resources and engagement in underlying personal or cultural factors.

Original publication





Book title

Handbook of Primary Care Ethics

Publication Date



25 - 34