Better biblical literacy is one of the great challenges for Christians – not least Christian doctors – living in these challenging times. Members attending the 2014 National Conference were treated to valuable teaching about how the Bible's message is a coherent whole.
Liam Goligher drew appreciation from delegates for his Bible readings from Genesis 1-3. 'Everything in the human story hangs on two men: Adam the First and Adam the Second,' he said. Scottish-born Liam, now based in Philadelphia, USA, added: 'The Bible is a book where we are meant to look backwards through the story. Viewed in this way we can see that all the Scriptures are about Jesus.'
Vinod Shah, CEO of ICMDA delivered the 2014 Rendle Short lecture exploring how Christians can make a difference in medicine. The key point that distinguishes Christians from other worldviews, he said, was that 'we follow a person, not an ideology'. Held in parallel was a student leader training programme with 49 students from most medical schools throughout the country attending.
The National Conference used a new venue, Yarnfield Park, Staffs, a facility capable of accommodating our growing numbers. It won accolades for 'a high standard of accommodation and excellent food.'
Keep an eye on the CMF website for details of next year's event.
Public Policy Matters
CMF, through its Public Policy team, has submitted detailed responses to public consultations on three very different topics since April 2014. In May, comments were submitted to the Department of Health on their draft regulations for mitochondrial donation. These regulations would permit the use of new techniques that aim to avoid serious mitochondrial diseases through creating three-parent children. Our response primarily focused on our concerns with the lack of evidence for the safety of these techniques.
In June CMF responded to a consultation by the Welsh Aneurin Bevan University Health Board that sought to clarify a consistent practice for 'do not attempt resuscitation' (DNAR) decisions. We suggested that evidence-based survival prospects, not subjective value-of-life criteria, should guide the decision-making process.
Also in June, CMF responded to a request from the House of Commons Education Committee for views on Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) and on Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools. Our submission emphasised the importance of parental involvement and argued that primary schools should remain free to decide whether or not to provide SRE. We said secondary schools should remain free to formulate their own policies, in close consultation with parents.
These responses can be read in full at: www.cmf.org.uk
Falconer members' alert
CMF has been active in the countdown to the House of Lords debate on Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill (18 July). CMF CEO Peter Saunders has recorded a video message and written to members of the Fellowship, encouraging them to make known their views to members of the Lords.
After long deliberations, the nine judges in the Supreme Court delivered their verdict on the Nicklinson/Lamb/'Martin' case in mid-June. On the surface, the judgment rejected a change in the law, but some of its 'fine print' is worrying.
The RCGP has thankfully decided to maintain its opposition to any change in the law to allow assisted suicide.
Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill
This is now being reviewed by a parliamentary committee and its consultation on the bill closed in early June. CMF expects the first stage debate to take place in the autumn. Margo MacDonald died in early April so the bill is now being championed by Patrick Harvie MSP of the Green Party. It proposes an Oregon type system with trained 'facilitators' but with a wide scope for mentally competent adults with a 'terminal condition'.