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triple helix: spring 2017

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Pharmacists' regulator's proposal to remove conscience rights

Should pharmacists be forced to dispense drugs for what they consider to be unethical practices - like emergency contraception, gender reassignment, abortion and assisted suicide? Or should they have the right to exercise freedom of conscience by either referring to a colleague or opting out? The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), (1)...

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Sex and Relationships Education

The Government has announced that Sex and Relationships Education will be made compulsory in all schools, from age four. The drive to do so seems unstoppable given that 'the numbers of STI diagnoses in those aged 15 to 24 years has risen considerably'. (1) Supporters of relationship education believe it will...

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Bullying and NHS culture

It seems hard to credit that an organisation whose primary focus is the care of the sick should have an appalling reputation for bullying and intimidation of staff. However multiple surveys (1) of NHS staff show that at least 25-30% of respondents reported experiencing bullying from colleagues and managers at...

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Lord Shinkwin's Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill

In May 2016, Lord Shinkwin's Private Member's Bill (1) sought the provision of equality within the 1967 Abortion Act, by changing the law to ensure that disability can no longer be given as a reason for termination at any gestation. Lord Shinkwin and the 'We're All Equal' campaign cite the 1995...

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New light on the horizon for social care?

This winter has been bad for the NHS for many reasons, not least of which has been the lack of social care for those medically fit for discharge. In the last year alone, the number of care homes for the elderly in England has fallen by 1,500, or 8%. Local...

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Beginning of Life Issues in 2017

Key points The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act is likely to spark debate from both sides, particularly in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Conscientious objection will be a big issue in 2017 as the General Pharmaceutical Council proposes to restrict significantly - possibly remove altogether - the right for...

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Christians, the Church & 'Fattism'

Key points Struggles with 'body weight' can stretch to either extreme but our culture seems more judgmental of overweight people. As healthcare professionals we need to be supportive and non-judgmental in discussing patients' exercise and eating habits. In church a practical way we can support those trying to eat more healthily is to...

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Caring for refugees & asylum seekers

Key points The three main characters in the parable of the Good Samaritan each shed light on different dimensions of caring. The legal expert who questions Jesus may well reflect dilemmas faced by NHS managers puzzling about how to target limited resources. The Samaritan is a symbol of some of the issues...

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Faith at work

Key points Christians still have a lot of freedom under the law to speak about Jesus in the workplace. An employer cannot simply restrict all religious speech. So long as you seek to share your faith in a biblical way - clearly and openly, in love and with gentleness and respect, and...

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The Doctor at Prayer

When it comes to prayer, it's a relief to notice that Jesus didn't browbeat ('You! Pray more!') or offer a system. Instead, he gave us a prayer-model packed with unimaginable riches. The foundation of the Lord's Prayer will drive us to our knees and overcome the guilt-induced approach to prayer....

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Cross-cultural communication in healthcare

Key points Approximately 40% of medical practitioners in the NHS are classified as 'White British' out of a registered workforce of 273,000 doctors. Other big groups include those of Indian origin (11.8%), other White (10.5%), Pakistani (4.3%), African (2.7%), and Chinese (2.0%). East and West: there are fundamental differences of values and...

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Make it your Ambition

When I joined CMF as a medical student in the early 1970s, the standard advice then to aspiring young Christian doctors was to get as far as possible in terms of seniority and prestige in the profession. The idea was you would be better able to exert Christian influence. This...

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Helen Roseveare: Living Sacrifice

Growing up as a missionary kid to parents serving in Senegal with WEC International, I had the privilege of being exposed to countless godly women and men who served as missionaries in some of the world's most challenging places. But none stuck with me more than Dr Helen Roseveare, the...

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In God's hands

'No! Please don't take my eye out!' The four-year-old boy desperately kicked and screamed as his worst nightmare was about to happen. It was the most unpleasant anaesthetic induction I had observed, as the small child was prepped for his enucleation. He was understandably terrified of his eye being gouged...

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eutychus

Three score and ten? Taking their cue from Psalm 90:10, Christians are apt to say mortals are allotted 70 years 'or 80, if our strength endures.' Imperial College London and the WHO's study of lifespans in 35 industrialised countries says life expectancy is set to rise, with women in South Korea...

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Transgender

Transgender, how to understand it - as disobedience, dysphoria or deconstruction? Vaughan Roberts steers towards pastoral sensitivity and robust biblical clarity. Roberts shows how gender identity has been dislocated from biological sex, assuming that we should seek to alter a person's body to conform to their sense of gender identity, and...

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Edith Cavell: Faith before the Firing Squad

In the midst of commemorations of the centenary of the First World War, the story of a Christian nurse in Belgium, executed for treason, is not an obvious stand out. Yet the death of Edith Cavell became a global cause celebre. Butcher paints a picture of this most unlikely patriot and...

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Virtually Human: Flourishing in a digital age

A book about our digital world has the potential to be irrelevant faster than you can say 'Google plus'. Thankfully, this book skillfully avoids this trap. It begins with the theory and theology of technology, followed by practical applications and insights for us today. Theology isn't left behind, there's biblical...

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Expository Thoughts on Acts: A surgeon looks at a physician's narrative

Older readers will probably be familiar with Bishop J C Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. Surgeon Jonathan Redden's book is consciously modelled on those volumes. It covers the whole of Acts in about 70 short sections. The Bible text is printed, followed by one or two pages of...

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The Search for God and the Path to Persuasion

Peter May is a gifted evangelist whose insights and approaches have lasted. The Search for God is packed with useful outlines and worked examples for sharing the gospel. Evangelism, he says, is primarily dialogue. Conversation is a skill to be cultivated and he offers copious insights on how. He isn't terribly keen...

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Ageing and Spirituality across Faiths and Cultures

Clarity about the concepts and inter-relationships of 'ageing' and 'spirituality' is urgently needed for healthcare professionals. Ageing (attitudinal perceptions and misperceptions, and their consequences) is explored against background demography and speculated across a range of religious and cultural contexts either formally (drawing on traditional teachings) or anecdotally (eg amongst Australian indigenous...

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On the Wings of Dawn: Medical Mission in India today

Aimed at people seriously considering medical mission in India, this book explains the complex history of healthcare in India and provides practical advice. The gems on its pages should be absorbed carefully as it is a unique study guide rather than a quick read. Each chapter has a different author...

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Against the Flow: The inspiration of Daniel in an age of relativism

John Lennox says that we live in a culture where 'God has lost his glory… holiness has degenerated into an exclusively negative concept'. Either Christianity is held to be worthless, or it is simply 'one choice' in the marketplace of ideas. In Against the Flow, he takes hold of the...

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