Keep on praying
In the wake of the publicity over the Caroline Petrie case (see front page), I was chatting recently with several members who have been involved in praying with patients. One spoke of an opportunity to pray which arose naturally at the hospital bedside while chatting with a patient about where we find support in times of need. Another spoke of praying a prayer of thanks with a patient for whom good diagnosis and prompt hospital intervention had averted a potential health crisis.
One GP said how she had felt led to pray for a cancer patient over the phone and after the patient had agreed to this, the doctor found herself among other things praying for the patient's daughter. At the end of the phone call, the patient said he now realised he had something he must say to his daughter before it was too late. Yet another doctor had been encouraged with feedback from a third party a couple of weeks after she had promised to pray for a patient's wife.
One GP member has recently carried out a random survey of 200 patients about what they would feel if the doctor offered to pray for them. About half said they were not particularly interested, but would still be happy to go on seeing the doctor in question. The other half said they were comfortable with the idea and would appreciate it. It remains important that we are sensitive to our patients and to the Spirit's prompting, but praying with patients is clearly still one of the ways that God is using his people in healthcare.
Trevor Stammers, current CMF chairman and a GP, has been quoted in the national press on the subject of Caroline Petrie and praying with patients:
To sack her on the basis of making an inquiry about whether a patient would like to pray would mean that thousands of people – including me – would be up before the General Medical Council. (www.telegraph.co.uk)
I am also encouraged to hear of more and more members becoming involved in prayer groups connected with the workplace – some groups in hospitals, some in GP surgeries, and some in members' homes. This is something we could all do, both for our own benefit and the benefit of others. Peter Phillips from Ipswich has written in Final Thoughts in the current edition of Triple Helix about his experience in a prayer triplet.
Keep on in training
It is vital that we do all we can to support junior doctors in these uncertain days. The junior doctors committee had a weekend away in January to pray, plan and relax together. Recently I have come across several doctors in training who have faced severe bullying at the hands of their consultants or tutors. Practical and prayerful support was key in enabling them to get through.
Junior doctors recently led seminars at the national students' conference helping final year students to prepare for their first foundation jobs, and we are planning a career-focused day conference for doctors applying through the specialty recruitment process later this year.
CMF provides training opportunities too, and we have planned more Saline Solution days to help members sensitively express faith issues in interactions with colleagues and patients. See back page for details.
Keep on coming
We look forward to welcoming all those who have already booked for our annual National Graduates' Conference at Swanwick, 24-26 April on the theme of Joy in Turbulent Times. It promises to be a great weekend with Bible readings from 1 Peter given by Dick Dowsett and the keynote lecture on The Doctor in the Workplace given by John Wyatt. There will be a wide choice of seminars and plenty of time to relax. If you would like to come, book quickly while there are still places.
Keep your eyes open
One member has reported to us that because of an IT policy based on key words, her Trust had blocked the CMF website at work with a warning sign worded Cult/Religious Belief. However, when she asked the IT department to allow access, they were happy to do so! What is happening in your Trust?
Kevin Vaughan is Head of Graduate Ministries.