Page 3, 8th July 1994

8th July 1994
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Page 3, 8th July 1994 — Catholic doctors slam NHS reforms
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Catholic doctors slam NHS reforms

BY MURRAY WHITE

Camouc DOCTORS AND at least one bishop this week echoed an Anglican bishop's stinging criticisms of the National Health Service reforms as "morally wrong".

In a sermon at St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, in the week of the British Medical Association conference in the city, Bishop Mark Santer warned of a "system in distress", saying that "market orientated" health reforms had left doctors disillusioned.

Bishop Terrence Brain, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Social Welfare Committee, backed Bishop Santer, saying it was wrong, in Christian terms, to reduce the

patient to the status of "a unit of consumption".

Bishop Brain told the Catholic Herald: "Our society is becoming one where the only criteria is to balance the books. There is a danger that we forget the value of the human being in all this."

The bishop, an auxiliary in the Birmingham archdiocese, said that he could see some reasons for the NHS reforms, "for example with usage of time. If you are going to give a service, then you have to give time honourably, and not cut corners. But that is about justice, not value for money." He questioned the merit of "league tables" for hospitals, which he said distracted from "healing real people".

Bishop Santer, in his sermon, had said: "The business model is wrong... Despite all the rhetoric about patient choice, the patient is in fact not the purchaser."

.A Hosrmu. IN Lancashire is to pioneer a new kind of chaplain, that will transform the age-old image of the "visitor to the sick", into a professional troubleshooter on ethical issues. .

The Preston Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which has had no full-time chaplain for a year, is to appoint a "chaplaincy team leader", who will create a network of pastoral care for staff and patients, and have influence on overall hospital policy through its new Ethics Committee.

Chairman of the Hospital Trust Carolyn Johnson, said: "A traditional chaplain can be marginalised by both staff and patients into a purely 'spiritual' role. Health care is about meeting the needs of the whole person: you can't divide body and spirit."




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