This was the headline of an article in “The Times”, 27 June 2019. It appears that GPs face problems that cannot be treated with medication. Some practices are recruiting people to minister to patients’ spiritual brokenness. The head of practice, Ross Bryson, at Karis Medical Centre, west Birmingham has persuaded his local health authority to fund a professional chaplain, to be based at his surgery. This is so that GPs at Karis, who encounter crisis’, have the option of referring their patient to their resident chaplain, so that spiritual needs can be addressed.
Dr Bryson is in the process of establishing a company to employ GP chaplains nationwide. This company would seek charitable funding and NHS contracts. He said, “There are factors in our humanity which are not just emotional: They are issues to do with meaning and belonging, connectedness, hope and being valued. They seem to matter in healthcare, when you stop to ask these questions”. The chaplain’s job is to listen to the patients stories and help them to address spiritual issues that could have an impact on their health.
Patients referred have included a widow suffering from depression and insomnia. She was helped to say goodbye to her late husband. Another example was a homeless alcoholic man, whose addiction drove him to a heart attack. He got free from his addiction and turned his life around, after the chaplain helped him to join a church.
The Royal College of General Practitioners has endorsed the chaplain concept. It’s chairwoman, Helen Stokes-Lampard, says that GPs should take into account religious and spiritual beliefs when making a diagnosis and planning treatment. However, even though surveys have found that increasing numbers of family doctors acknowledge the importance of spiritual care, they are unsure how to address the issue, because chaplaincy schemes like the one at Karis are unusual.
Alistair Appleby, a GP who conducted research last year into spiritual care, admitted he had found himself ill-equipped when patients brought their “existential problems” to his consulting room. “When I came across these situations I asked myself what did I know from medical literature that would help, and there wasn’t very much there”, he admitted. He believes there needs to be a sea-change in training for doctors; moving away from a “biochemistry” approach to seeing people as holistic, spiritual beings. John Swinton, a trained nurse, Church of Scotland minister and academic at the University of Aberdeen, agreed. “ The bottom line is that all of us need to have something for our sense of purpose and value. You care for someone body, mind and spirit. The danger is a highly mechanised healthcare service either downplays or overlooks this”.
Spiritual care in primary medicine remains fragmented, but Dr Bryson remains undeterred. “We are all overwhelmed, in general practice, with distressed people. And when we know there is someone who can be trusted to help with this person and walk alongside them, then I think we all want it”.
It has long been clear that the NHS is not adequately funded to offer satisfactory counselling services for mental illness. Even though we do have counsellors attached to many medical practices, we still rely too heavily on charitable institutions in this area. It is however encouraging to learn that the medical profession itself is realising that there is also a spiritual (or should I say “existential”) dimension to life.
|Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't.||Margaret Thatcher|
|The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us.||C S Lewis|
|Fear is misplaced faith.||Kris Vallotton|
|God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you.||Joel Osteen|
|God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you.||Joyce Meyer|
|Pray, and let God worry||Martin Luther|
|Those who never change their mind never change anything.||Winston Churchill|
|What you do (for a living) is not who you are.||Celia Apeagyei-Collins|
|People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail.||Lance Wallnau|
|There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.||C S Lewis|
|He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.||Jim Elliot|
|You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you.||C S Lewis|
|If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you.||David Forster|
|Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life.||Unknown|
|Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him.||David Forster|
|Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence.||Lance Wallnau|
|Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad.||David Forster|
|no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good..||C S Lewis|
|If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine.||Rick Joyner|
|For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter.||Graham Cooke|
|Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster.||David Forster|
|The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that.||Louie Giglio|
|In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release.||Bill Johnson|
|Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence.||Desiringgod.org|
|Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us.||Sam Storms|
|How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters.||Kris Vallotton|
|There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today.||Joel Osteen|
|The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives.||Alison Brown|
|If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance.||David Forster|
|If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.||David Forster|
|A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..||Graham Cooke|
|Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.||Graham Cooke|
|Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person.||David Forster|
|Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life.||David Forster|
|God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing.||C S Lewis|
|Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us.||David Forster|
|The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist.||Anon|
|Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love.||David Forster|
|You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer!||Tim Keller|
|Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal.||Lance Wallnau|
|Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.||Albert Einstein|
|Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy||Graham Cooke|
|Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.||G K Chesterton|
|When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people.||David Forster|
|You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else.||C S Lewis|
|A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind.||C S Lewis|
|Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death.||Graham Cooke|
|I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me.||David Forster|