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triple helix: summer 2016

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When the foundations are being destroyed

'When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?' (1) We live in times when the very foundations of our civilisation are being destroyed: the NHS with its burgeoning needs and shrinking budgets, mounting national debt, political and economic uncertainty following 'Brexit', the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, creeping...

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Life is the gift of God...

In May it came to light that for many years the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been inextricably linked with the leading provider of abortions in the UK, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). (1) So much so that Cathy Warwick, the RCM's CEO is also the Chair of...

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Death of a 20-year-old

What a tragedy. Another episode in the seemingly relentless advance of assisted suicide. This time a 20-year-old Dutch woman, a survivor of sexual abuse, persuaded doctors to administer a lethal injection. She reasoned that her life was untenable and death the only way out. UK press reports said her symptoms...

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A call to arms

A recent report from the Oasis Trust (1) presented a challenge to the government, public sector and the church to work more closely and creatively together on providing services. A report from the Cinnamon Trust last year (2) showed that faith groups make a major contribution to all aspects of...

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BMA retains opposition to assisted suicide

On 21 June the Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Belfast voted against going neutral on assisted suicide by a two to one majority. (1) Delegates rejected motion 80, 'that this meeting believes that the BMA should adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying', by 198...

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the nurse-physician relationship

The nurse-doctor relationship is changing. But there is still too much conflict and lack of collaboration; and much potential for quality improvement. Nurses are not alone in suffering from negative relationships at work. Female doctors, especially juniors, are given less assistance and respect by female nurses. We need to be...

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Exporting British healthcare expertise

Howard Lyons offers a personal viewpoint key points From close-up, British people are well aware of the shortcomings of the NHS; from a global perspective it is highly regarded and governments the world over are keen to benefit from 68 years of operating a healthcare system that is free at point...

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New template for the UK

Last year a landmark case changed how the UK law of consent is to be interpreted and applied. (1) The emphasis in decision making must be on partnership and shared decisions, not paternalism. Doctors who ignore or withhold information from their patients, even about a very small risk, may now...

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Robots and healthcare

Sitting in a comfortable armchair, Maureen is smiling. In her late 70s and with hair a silvery grey, Maureen's hand gently strokes what looks like a furry white seal beside her. 'You're a good boy aren't you?' she croons in a BBC video. (1) As the 'seal' makes a cooing reply,...

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Tackling global health inequalities

key points Millions are excluded from adequate healthcare. The 'supply side' is often affected by distances from services and shortages of resources and trained healthcare workers. The 'demand' side is often affected by societal attitudes. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Declaration of the Rights of...

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Integrity in research

key points Truth telling is foundational for doctors, although at times they will need to judge whether patients can bear hearing completely 'unvarnished' truth about their illness. In medical research, there is no room whatsoever for untruthfulness, but this doesn't always happen so checks are needed. As well as being accountable to their...

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Gospel mission and medicine

key points There is huge need for medical help in isolated and poor areas. Evangelistic medical team members often find the experience transforming. It's essential to work with local partners; one-offs are to be avoided. Opportunities are almost unlimited. It all started when a Maasai pastor requested a medical team...

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A yak in the fridge

The title alludes to the author's research into altitude sickness, involving storing yak hearts in the kitchen refrigerator. It's one episode in a compelling account of a medical career devoted to Nepal. The author and his family went there in 1969 with BMMF (now Interserve) to work with the United...

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Emotions

'Emotions are unimportant' or so I once famously remarked as a somewhat naive medical student, probably in reaction to what I perceived as excesses in the opposite direction. God soon disabused me of this notion through a variety of interesting circumstances, but this book would have been really helpful at...

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The amazing technicolour pyjama therapy

Emily Ackerman was working as a doctor when she developed ME and switched from physician to patient. Her story is humorously told through prose and cartoons (which are very funny, by the way). This book aims to help those facing life-changing illness to fight back and draw close to God...

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The worry book

Jesus told us not to worry. But many Christians do, and then feel guilty as well. This excellent book offers practical tips for sufferers. Written by a sympathetic pastor and psychiatrist, it's full of helpful illustrations and biblical application. For instance, do you recognise the rocking chair of worry, which...

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Rediscovering a ministry of health

The role of nurses as part of the ministry of the local church is nota new idea. It has been practised in the UK in one form or other since the start of the church and later by 'Bible Nurses'. However, with the advent of the NHS, the UK church...

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The unicyclist, the vicar and the paediatrician

As a Christian doctor, a keen cyclist and having previously ridden the 1,000 miles from Land's End to John O' Groats, I felt adequately qualified to do this review. The book is written by a Christian Paediatrician, Peter Sidebotham, who tells the story of his 16-year-old son, Joe, as they...

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Openness unhindered

This book certainly lives up to its name as a former lesbian activist turned Christian author, homemaker, mother and wife shares her life experience and wisdom with a remarkable balance of openness and integrity. She comes across as honest without being in any way sensationalist as she writes about issues relating...

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Mindful of the light

I found this to be an extremely helpful book. It makes a vital contribution to the important area of mental health and spirituality. The material has developed out of a series of talks that the author presented in various settings and this helps make the writing very readable. There is...

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eutychus

WHO seeks new Director General Eutychus notes that the search is underway for a new Director General of the WHO. The appointee will be elected at the WHO Assembly in May 2017, succeeding Margaret Chan who's been in the job for ten years. Despite many commendable achievements, Chan's administration attracted...

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help with learning to walk

Treating children with muscle tone issues can mirror God's compassion says Peter Sidebotham. As a paediatrician, I am often referred young children who are delayed in their development, including those who are slow in learning to walk. This may just be a mild developmental delay, the child taking time to acquire...

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