Sunday, June 28, 2009

Doctors and nurses and praying for patients

Nich Starling, the Norfolk Blogger - indeed, the Norfolk Blogger - is concerned that:

a large number of doctors who want to be able to talk to patients about God and their faith ... are lobbying the GMC to allow them to do so.

He writes:

I put my faith in the doctor and years of medical training. What I don't want is a doctor giving me the impression that he or she really does not have the skills to deal with my problem and instead relies on "divine intervention".
I hope the GMC will realise that a doctor espousing praying is akin to telling a patient to "keep your fingers crossed" and gives patients no confidence in the ability of the doctor.
I am not sure this latter point is true as a matter of fact: I would not be surprised to learn that many of the best doctors are practising Christians or follow some other faith.

But more importantly, I think Nich is ducking the central question here.

Offering to pray for someone can be kind, patronising, threatening, reassuring, presumptuous, thoughtful or silly, depending upon the situation and the two people involved.

The question is whether we think that a centrally determined and imposed code of conduct can account for all the subtleties here or whether we are happy to trust the judgement of the people involved.

Because we are Liberals we prefer the latter course of action, don't we?


Tristan said...

Obvious answer is to do away with the monopoly the GMC has on medical licensing. I've never understood why its seen as a good thing to have state enforced monopolies in the most important areas of life...

Nich Starling said...

It wouldn't surprise me at all that lots of sensible people who understand science and that the world was not created in seven days, see all the misery in the world, see suffering on a daily basis and who know that there is little justice in the world can still believe in a god.

However, I couldn't disagree with Tristan more. haivng competing standards of doctor would inevitably mean cost cutting and cutting corners.

Paul Walter said...

I go to the doctors quite a lot (long story). I am yet to have any doctor or nurse ask me if I want they to pray for them. Does it only happen in Norfolk?