Monday, 30 January 2017

The god in the healthcare temple

February 2017

 “Major alerts at hospitals”

“A & E corridor bed chaos”

 “General Practice close to the precipice”

We can only admire those who work in the health service under such pressures.

In past centuries the responsibility for caring for people was shouldered by the individual, by their family and by the church.  But at some point we collectively entrusted ourselves to the state which promised that it would, with tax money taken from us, provide all the healthcare we needed whenever we needed it and without further charge.  Political parties of all kinds have repeated that promise down the years and have come under severe criticism for not meeting our expectations.

In Bible terms this is the equivalent of worshipping an idol – you believe that something will satisfy your needs, you allow it to make increasingly costly demands on you and you go on doing this even when it is clear that the idol cannot deliver what it promised.  We have our mini-idols of homes, or jobs, or relationships.  But one of the biggest idols of our day is the state - the god that we enthrone in the temple of ‘healthcare’ and which we have also installed in many of our other temples. 

For now most will, I think, keep looking to the government to keep them healthy; politicians of all shades have found that questioning the wisdom of the state’s healthcare promise makes them unelectable.   But perhaps you agree that a day will come when we have to accept a more modest healthcare commitment from our government?

In the meantime let’s be thankful for those who do their best to serve us well within a stretched system.  We ought to be very grateful every time we have a good experience of our national health service, and when we don’t we need to be patient patients.

And let’s recommit what is left of our church congregations, our families, and our sense of personal responsibility to the task of caring for the well-being and health of one another.  The state has not yet made us redundant; actually it never will.


Graham Burrows