We would all like to see a high quality service at the new Tapping House hospice which is being constructed at Hillington and which will contain in-patient beds. Descriptions of a high quality service might include the following: skilful; knowledgeable; up-to-date; compassionate; respectful; confidential; safe; transparent; adequately resourced, cost effective; openly accessible; well-staffed; sensitive; listening; supportive; communicative; integrated. In fact, in a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, the UK NHS was ranked first out of the health services of 11 western countries on five measures: quality of care, access to care; efficiency; equity and healthy lives (Ref: BMJ 2014; 348:g4080).
But the church teaches us that we are flawed and recent NHS scandals confirm this. We must face up to this truth and pray so that God can shine through the cracks and transform us. Conversely, being judgemental damages relationships and destroys creative networks.
In 1995, after the scandal at Bristol children’s cardiac unit, the NHS introduced the concept of clinical governance. Staff undertake a number of tasks against which they are formally assessed. These tasks show that they follow guidelines, keep their knowledge and skills up to date, produce acceptable outcomes, co-operate between departments, investigate and change after errors and change the service to meet the views of patients and their relatives.
This work is effective prayer. Jesus said ‘Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7).
Peter Coates Kings Lynn Catholic Church