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Viewpoint from John Nickerson 11/04/2014 

John Nickerson
St Margaret’s Church, Hopton

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


Dove rightWhat's your greatest asset?  What do you have that you treasure most?  What's most important in your life?  Your spouse or partner maybe or your children?  Your home or your car perhaps?  For most of us it's probably our health because, without good health, life can be very difficult, as those who suffer know well
7th April is observed, annually, as World Health Day when nations join together to celebrate the sharing of medical knowledge for the good of all mankind.  Research conducted in individual countries is shared so that all may benefit from the great advances being continually made in medical science.  In this country our National Health Service was established so that everyone, young or old, rich or poor would benefit from these advances and receive medical care when they most need it.  It's when we're sick we're at our most vulnerable and need the compassion and professional expertise of our doctors and nurses
It has, therefore, been alarming, during the past few months, to receive media reports of wrongdoing by individuals within our NHS and scandalous to learn that a culture of 'cover-up' and institutional indifference to patient care had become endemic within some parts of the service
dove leftWe always like to think the best of others and that it will never happen to us.  But it does happen.  Very recently I learned of an elderly person who fell at home, in the evening, badly damaging a shoulder and who was taken, by a relative, to the A & E department of his local hospital.  There he was told the department was rather busy that evening.  Could he return in the morning?  The casualty was sent home in agony and very distressed.  One wonders, for example, whether Florence Nightingale or Edith Cavell, when they were nursing, would have been too busy to show compassion for a frail, elderly person.  Our Lord certainly wasn't
The Gospels recount numerous occasions when Jesus healed sick people.  Luke, himself a physician, records in his Gospel that arriving in a town, Jesus saw a funeral procession.  'The dead man was the only son of a woman who was a widow...  When the Lord saw her his heart was filled with compassion for her, and he said to her, "Don't cry"  Then he walked over and touched the coffin... and said, "Young man!  Get up, I tell you!"  The dead man sat up and began to talk'.  We don't expect our doctors and nurses to perform miracles but we hope they will show compassion!  Thankfully, my own experience has been that they do
Let us pray that in an 'hour of need' caring, professional staff will provide the best our NHS can offer wherever that may be.  For surely, in life, isn't our health our greatest asset?