Springingtiger's Blog

Thank God for the NHS!

I don’t like going to the Dentist. Does anyone? I am certainly not convinced that it is necessary to have a check-up every six months. However I will go today for my check-up. I often wonder how much of our healthcare is driven by belief and conditioning rather than actual need. I know that money enters into the equation even here in Scotland where we have a government committed to free healthcare. I am grateful not to live in Texas, having just read about the case of Chris Dunn who was allowed to die by Methodist Hospital, Houston. I think what horrified me most about this story of a young man whose life sustaining care was withdrawn because he could not pay for it is the name of the hospital, ‘Methodist Hospital’. I grew up in the North of England where the Methodists were a Christian Church with strong ethical values and a sense of community, their chapels attended by respectable earnest citizens.

I shall not complain about today’s Old Testament reading  ̶ that dead horse has been well flogged ̶ however in the New Testament reading Jesus summed up the whole of the Law as, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” He went on to warn against taking the easy option. It seems to me that sacrificing patient-care to profit is both the easier and the selfish option. Sometimes I wonder why Christians bother worshipping Jesus when they have utter contempt for everything he taught.

Here in Britain the National Health Service was founded on the Socialist and Christian values of caring for each other and particularly those less able to care for themselves, In Scotland those values still underpin our health service, thank God ̶ God and committed nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, and other healthcare professionals as well as dedicated administrators and those who give up their time to sit on our health boards. This was not intended to be a gratitude blog, but I am deeply grateful for our NHS, for its dedicated staff and supporters and for a Scottish Government that retains a passionate commitment to it. Sadly I would be less confident of my healthcare south of the Border where the commitment of the workers in the service is every bit as strong, but the commitment of their government appears less so and its commitment to the workers is so lacking that they find themselves compelled to go on strike. Ironically the government that threatens healthcare is led by a man who takes upon himself the right to lecture others about Christian values in his Christmas message.

I accept that my view of life may be naive and my view of Christianity simple. Jesus told people how to behave, if they profess to follow him they should behave as he told them to, it really is that simple. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, ‘Whatsoever you did for the least of these my brothers that you did unto me’, ‘Sell what you possess and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’. I don’t care how much someone goes to church what counts is what they actually do. I think some hospital administrators and politicians who profess to be Christians should remember that ‘a man cannot serve two masters, either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money’. I am not opposed to Christianity, I just wish Christians would actually follow Jesus. For my part, I’m going to the Dentist, gratefully.


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