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Archbishop Vincent Nichols attacks NHS over compassion


Archbishop Vincent Nichols attacks NHS over compassion

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is to use a homily to criticise what he sees as a lack of compassion in some parts of the NHS.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols will say that some hospitals see patients as no more than a set of medical problems.

He will say calls for assisted suicide and euthanasia reflect a society that does not know how to deal with death.

The archbishop's comments will be delivered at a special service of healing at Westminster Cathedral.

He will say the constitution of the NHS promises to respond with humanity to a patient's distress and anxiety as well as their pain.
But the archbishop will claim some hospitals fail to meet that commitment because of a prevailing culture which sees patients as no more than medical cases to be resolved.
He will say systems of care have been created which by treating patients in this way inflicts what amounts to hidden violence on them.


In a BBC interview the archbishop said: "Most people in this country are immensely grateful to the NHS for both their professionalism and their compassion.
"But also many people know of stories, where they have felt particularly their elderly and dying family members have not received that full measure of the compassion which the NHS sets as its highest standard.

"Clearly there are lots of circumstances which make it difficult for that level of care. But sometimes I do believe people are reduced a little bit and perceived as a problem, a medical problem, a behavioural problem."

In his homily he will reject calls for assisted suicide, accusing its supporters of wrongly seeing death as simply a medical event.

The archbishop will also say society is at a loss to know how to respond to death.
In the interview, he said: "I think there is in our society there is a growing fear of death, a fear of the circumstances in which I might die, a fear I might be over-treated or under-treated. But fear is always a bad guide. Death is part of life."

Source: BBC



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