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triple helix: winter 2016

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Christmas: the miracle of the incarnation

Many of our colleagues are sceptical of the miraculous elements in the life of Jesus Christ: the virgin birth, the healing miracles and the resurrection. They 'know' as health professionals that such things are medically impossible. But the real miracle, on which all rests, and which we celebrate at Christmas, is...

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NIPT

Eugenics by another name Review by Peter Saunders CMF Chief Executive The government, on 30 October, approved a new test for pregnant women that will make it much easier to detect and destroy babies with Down's syndrome (DS) in utero. According to the BBC, the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) will be...

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The Sustainable Development Goals one year on

A great opportunity for the church to grasp Review by Steve Fouch CMF Head of Nursing How do you transform the world? Marx thought it would be through the revolution of the proletariat, while Facebook expect it to be the ubiquity of their social network. The United Nations have pinned their transformational...

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PrEP

Big questions remain Review by Peter Saunders CMF Chief Executive The Court of Appeal ruled on 10 November that the NHS in England can fund a drug that can reduce the chance of people catching HIV whilst engaging in high-risk sexual activities. (1) The once-a-day pill known as PrEP, tradenamed Truvada,...

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Sex education programmes are largely ineffectual

Large new research review Review by Philippa Taylor CMF Head of Public Policy A recent Cochrane review of studies on school-based sex education, combining peer-reviewed data from more than 55,000 young people from Europe, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, has found that the mainstay of the current approach to sex...

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Wear your values

Richard Vincent reflects on why we need to be clear about our values and our reasons for holding them. Key points Values are a key force shaping our attitudes and behaviour. Identifying our internal values is a valuable exercise, helped by reflecting on our priorities and our actions. The Bible gives many examples...

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Supporting colleagues in challenging times

Stefan Gleeson offers tools to help understand the impact of stress on individuals and teams. Key points Many UK doctors experience burnout at some stage of their career, and up to 20% suffer from depression. A link is recognised between patient safety and how effective teams are as learning environments. Christians are called to...

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Finance in the early years

Matt and Clare Davis offer important principles for money management. How does an article about handling money make you feel - thankful; blessed; afraid; guilty; envious? Perhaps you feel like the wealthy oil baron John Rockefeller who when asked 'how much money is enough?' replied 'always just a little bit more'....

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NHS in crisis

Anthony Bell surveys the scale of the NHS crisis and some of the proposals for change Key points The NHS is entering a third decade of administrative turbulence and cost pressures. Almost every measure of performance is getting worse. Waiting times for cancer care, accident and emergency attendances, ambulances and routine...

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Boundary stones in bioethics

Trevor Stammers finds wisdom from the Book of Proverbs on some modern day dilemmas Key points Boundary stones help society maintain respect and continuity with previous generations. They remind us we are not autonomous islands. Ethical issues of IVF, gene editing, gender dysphoria, cybernetics and transhumanism all have in common that they seek...

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Gender and social change

Rick Thomas looks at transgenderism and the agenda feeding it. key points Autonomy has become 'the moral wallpaper of the modern world' and it demands that we do not impose our moral code on others. The transgender movement seeks the deconstruction in society of sex and gender, and traditional models of marriage...

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Overcoming stress and burnout

Roxana Walker identifies important biblical principles Key points Stress is a huge challenge but not everyone approaches it in the same way. Proverbs extols the value of wisdom, and James tells us that God will guide us if we ask him for wisdom. Keep the Sabbath: we are not machines and...

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Spiritual Care at the end of life

The Chaplain as a 'Hopeful Presence' Steve Nolan Jessica Kingsley, 2015, £18.99, 360pp, ISBN 9781849051996 Reviewed by Gareth Tuckwell, formerly of Burrswood Christian Hospital, now Regional Director of Macmillan Cancer Support Within your working life, have you ever felt that you had nothing to offer when faced with a dying person or their...

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Pressed but not crushed

A true-life story of living with faith and locked-in syndrome Andrew Davies, Barbara Davies and Emma Davies Malcolm Down Publishing, 2015, £8.99, 200pp, ISBN 01707880098 Reviewed by Steve Sturman, Consultant Neurologist (Neurorehabilitation) based in Warley, West Midlands This very honest book tells the story of Andrew, a successful dentist whose life is...

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The Heart and the Abyss

Preventing Abortion Ward Biemans SJ (Society of Jesuits) Connorcourt Publishing, 2016, 390pp, ISBN 9781925138962 Reviewed by Mark Houghton, GP in Sheffield Is abortion a safe and simple solution for unplanned pregnancy? Everyone should be ready to answer that question because 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the British abortion law....

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Heart Attitudes

Cultivating life on the Inside Graham Beynon IVP, 2014, £8.99, 174pp, ISBN 9781783591718 Reviewed by Stefan Gleeson, Consultant Psychiatrist based in Hampshire The 'heart' is referred to some 830 times in the Bible. As Graham Beynon puts it, 'God is deeply concerned with who we are, not just what we...

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Dementia: Pathways to Hope

Spiritual insights and practical advice Louise Morse Monarch, £7.99, 2015, 160pp, ISBN 9780857216557 Reviewed by William AM Cutting, an Oxford-based paediatrician, carer and writer encouraging senior citizens. In a world where the word 'dementia' brings dread and despair, Louise Morse is a shining herald of hope in a book loaded with information...

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Lessons from a hospital bed

John Piper IVP, 2016, £4.99, 75pp, ISBN 9781783594238 Reviewed by Janet Goodall, retired Paediatrician based in Stoke This is a small book, easy to hold in a weak hand and easy to read with a tired mind. The chapters are short and full of distilled wisdom. It is a little gem for anyone...

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Inventing the Universe

Why we can't stop talking about science, faith and God Alister McGrath Hodder & Stoughton, 2015, £9.99, ISBN 9781444798463 Reviewed by Peter May, retired GP based in Southampton The author considers big questions raised by science and religion and how they mutually enrich one another. There is a tendency among Christians to reduce...

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The Life you Never Expected

Thriving whilst parenting special needs children Andrew and Rachel Wilson IVP, 2015, 154pp, ISBN 9781783593521 Reviewed by Mark Pickering, Prison GP, husband to Rachael and father to wonderfully sweet and quirky autistic teenager Zoe This book is packed full of useful insights. It never loses sight of how parenting special needs children...

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eutychus

Whoever pays the piper... Before Triple Helix launched, CMF took an important decision. While we knew there would be plenty of businesses willing to pay high rates to reach 4,000+ doctors, accepting commercial advertising or sponsorship could compromise the integrity of the Fellowship. This came to mind recently on reading...

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A patient I should have cried over

Faith offers resources for dealing with emotion, as Alice Gerth discovered. Eight hours into my first weekend on-call, struggling to manage the workload, my jobs list getting longer as the day progressed and my bleep went off: 'Cardiac Arrest, Orthopaedic ward'. My heart sank. An hour later, I walked off the...

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