The real reason why our NHS is in dire straits.
The New Year headlines and editorials around Britain are filled with crisis in the NHS, with the Government insisting that there is no crisis.
They say that the postponement of 12,000 operations and the appeals to the public not to go to A&E unless it is a real emergency are simply the result of careful planning. There’s nothing wrong with the NHS: all arrangements are in hand to get our health and care services through the winter.
The Government hopes that we will all be reassured by these statements; but still the reports persist of overcrowded hospitals, patients left on corridors for hours, ambulances queueing up outside A&E departments (for which the PM has now apologised) and elderly patients blocking beds because there is no place for them to go in the community.
Facing Up to Reality
So, what is the truth? Every year more and more money is poured into the NHS, more doctors and nurses are recruited, more operations are carried out, medical science advances, more diseases are being successfully treated, more and more people are living longer. But still the demands upon the NHS increase year on year and – as always – we have the usual New Year outbursts of anger that our great National Health Service, the pride of the nation, is not performing as well as we would like.
Without disputing the incredible work done by our health professionals, it is not excessive these days to suggest that the NHS is fast becoming the golden calf at the center of our national religion, before which we bow our heads and worship.
We sacrifice our wealth at the NHS altar and in return we receive multitudes of pills and potions to satisfy our cravings and ward off the consequences of over-indulgence. We replace parts of our bodies in our search for eternal life hoping that they will never wear out. The noble origins of our tremendous health service are being augmented and warped beyond recognition to gratify our lust for physical wellbeing, long life and free promiscuity.
It is little wonder that despite everything we do to improve our great NHS, the demands upon it grow steadily year upon year.
Why is this? Why do we never stop to ask fundamental questions about the NHS and the health of the nation?
The Real Trouble
What is the real trouble with the NHS? It all comes down to 2 words – family breakdown!
Why are so many elderly patients bed-blocking in hospital because there’s no one to care for them in the community? The answer is – family breakdown.
Why are so many beds in our hospitals occupied by mental health patients? The answer is – family breakdown.
Why are so many people going to their GPs with depression? The answer is – family breakdown.
Why are our care facilities in the community under such strain? The answer is – family breakdown.
Why are there so many long-term people off work? The answer is – family breakdown.
Surely it’s time we recognized that the nation is sick! Why is the nation sick? The answer is – family breakdown.
What is Driving This?
Is there a simple reason why this is happening? There certainly is! We have abandoned our Judeo-Christian value system, which put family and community at the heart of the nation.
Former generations did not have everything right; there was plenty of evidence of injustice and an unequal distribution of resources. But there was one thing they did get right – faithful commitment in marriage, with love and care in the community at the very center of national life – thanks to the efforts of evangelists and intercessors down the ages who helped establish the Bible as the moral foundation of British society.
Happy, faithful, loving family life produces happy, stable, loving and healthy children. It is in the family where children are taught the basic values of community, of love for one another, of respect, of recognition of the rights of others, of dealing with disagreements in a non-violent manner, of finding pleasure in making others happy and of caring for one another.
All these things are a normal part of family life in a nation whose values are drawn from the Judeo-Christian heritage of the Bible. The Bible is the only blueprint in the world for marriage and the family that really works and leads to blessing – based as it is on God’s good design for humanity.
The Biblical Model
The teaching given by St Paul to the Christians in Corinth was brilliant. He based his teaching on Christian family and community upon the illustration of a body – a healthy body in which each of the parts performed their function. Each part was equally essential to the health, vitality and right functioning of the whole. He said,
The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable (1 Cor 12:21).
The Christians in Corinth were living in a hostile social environment with paganism all around them and increasing pressure from the government in Rome who hated Judeo-Christianity and tried to force everyone to worship the Emperor.
Our situation today is not very different and it is likely to get more difficult for Christians to witness to the truth in an increasingly hostile, secular humanist environment. It is essential, if our faith is to survive, that we not only teach the faith within our families, but in our community life we demonstrate the practical worth of biblical principles.
We have something of immense value to communicate here in the West, to nations that have had the truth for centuries but are now deliberately turning to false gods like Darwinism and Epicureanism, which deceive with their material trinkets and Godless hedonism. The West is totally neglecting – even denying – the fundamental values that lead to true health and well-being of both individuals and communities.
The New Year message that we need to convey to the world is to show the essential nature of biblical family and community, where love and respect for one another – putting others ahead of self – and finding true fulfilment in service become part of our nature. Only then will others begin to listen to the Gospel we preach.
Paul’s teaching on family and community defines the essence of love that needs to be taught and demonstrated by Christians today. He says:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13. 4-8)
This kind of love cannot be taught in the classroom or studied in a university library. It must be lived out and conveyed in family life by those who have come to a personal knowledge of the love of God our Father through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
References: Top image from Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images. Second from John Stillwell/PA Wire/PA Images.
Copyright © 2017, Dr Clifford Hill, Prophecy Today UK-All rights reserved.