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05 October 2012

No easy job for Christian healthcare professionals

No easy job for Christian healthcare professionals

by Lauren Belcher

Whether you agree with the budget cuts and the shake-up of the NHS or not, you have to admit it is a difficult time to be a part of the medical profession. Doctors, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals don't have an easy job at the best of times, with their high levels of responsibility and often unruly hours. This is why the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), a member of the Evangelical Alliance, is encouraging churches around the UK to remember Healthcare Sunday on 21 October.

With 1.7 million people in the UK working for the NHS, the likelihood of your having a member of the medical profession in your church congregation is quite high. Healthcare Sunday was set up more than a decade ago to ensure that they receive prayer and support from their church communities.

Doctors often face the ethical questions the rest of us simply think and discuss in a real and tangible way. CMF, for example, started the Care Not Killing Alliance which concerns itself with the issues surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia. They also blog about abortion, work in genetics, mental illness and many of the other questions doctors are faced with. Healthcare Sunday invites churches to join CMF in offering their support to doctors having to deal with these questions on a daily basis. Together we can pray that they have both wisdom and compassion as they come into contact with, not only policies and laws, but those directly affected by these issues.

CMF also have 200 members who are working abroad full time. The challenges that confront those working overseas are obviously distinctive from the ones of those here in the UK. On Healthcare Sunday please take the time to pray that they have the right resources and conditions; that they find themselves at home in their respective countries, and that they are able to truly help the people they meet.

The CMF website gives plenty of ideas for how you can remember Healthcare Sunday, either by praying or giving some information in a Sunday service, or by organising an event that you can invite healthcare professionals to, like a meal. Whatever you choose to do, Healthcare Sunday is a great opportunity to show healthcare professionals your appreciation for all their hard work.

Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of CMF, said: "Many more people pass through our hospitals and GP surgeries than through our churches, and Christian doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers play a key role as Christ's hands and feet at the sharp end of society with the opportunity to touch people's lives at what can be their greatest time of need.

"They also face big ethical and moral pressures in a workplace which is often hostile to Christian faith and values. As ordinary Christian disciples facing these challenges and with their own personal, spiritual and emotional needs, they need our prayer and encouragement."

Steven Fouch, head of nursing and allied professions at CMF, added: "The nursing profession has deep roots in the Christian faith. We need to remind ourselves and those in our churches who work in the NHS of the Christian call to care, to encourage them that they are doing God's work in caring for the sick, the disabled and vulnerable, and to thank them for the work that they do. Healthcare Sunday is a chance for churches to thank, encourage and support health professionals in our churches."

The day before Healthcare Sunday, an event called God Loves the NHS will take place at All Souls, Langham Place. It will be a chance for all those who work in the health service to meet together for encouragement, support and to hear about different ways that Christians in the NHS are living out the hope of the Gospel in their workplaces.