"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

End of Life Care British style

Dear American Republican Friends,
                                                         When my poor old Mum was diagnosed with a terminal cancer at 83, in addition to the Alzheimer's she was already suffering from, a number of things slipped into place automatically.

Since her Alzheimer's diagnosis, Mum was already in receipt of an additional benefit called Attendance Allowance. This is not means tested and she received the higher rate.

On the very day that her cancer symptoms began to show, her Doctor referred her to the hospital, bypassing Accident and Emergency, where she was seen at once, scanned and admitted. She remained in hospital for two weeks while her condition stabilised and she had a small procedure.

On the day of her discharge we had a meeting: the consultant, the ward sister, the area palliative care team, the area joint coordinator (funding), my wife and I. The outcome was that Mum would return home in a special palliative care ambulance.  On her return home she was visited daily by the Community District Nurses, who managed her drugs regime and pain relief. As her condition worsened a night nurse was provided to sit with her. She was given a hospital-style bed in her apartment and additional equipment as necessary. Mum was also linked to the local Hospice care team. A Healthcare professional was with Mum 24 hours a day in her last month.
This is universal health care, free at the point of delivery. Because her cancer was terminal, The National Health Service also met all the costs of the care package Mum needed at her apartment including food and additional carer input from her supported living accommodation. This is only payback for what Mum contributed to the system through taxes all her working life. There was no health insurance policy because there was never a need for one.

This is how a civilized society cares for it's marginalised and vulnerable. Although our government makes no claims to be a Christian government, it is nevertheless following Jesus' injunction to care for the marginalised and the vulnerable and this treatment is about entitlement.

This is why the British public treasures the NHS.

This is end of life care British-style.
Did I hear anyone mention a Death Panel?


  1. That sounds just wonderful. Here in Canada, I'm afraid the care is not quite as good unless you have a private health plan (constant in-home care is not provided). The in-hospital or in-hospice end-of-life care is very good, however. I pity Americans, who would deny the less fortunate among them decent healthcare.
    I am sorry for your loss.

  2. You're not being paid to write this by some socialist propaganda outfit, are you? It sounds like a dream come true. I won't take time here to describe the continuing nightmare my poor mother had to endure in her final years and months and days, but by comparison your mom was truly blessed - believe me when I tell you.

    Over here, as you know, it has been a knock-down, drag-out battle just to get (supposedly) universal health insurance - which is very flawed and inadequate in many cases, but at least it is a start. Universal single-payer healthcare, on the other hand, remains an impossible dream, and will for decades to come most likely, thanks entirely to the righteous, god-fearing Republicans - like this unspeakably vile man who does not want the government helping anybody with medical care, except of course him and his ilk:


  3. My (well-insured) mom had "Hospice" at the end of her life (here in the States, 2007) which, from my perspective (I wasn't w/ her the whole time, unlike my dad), was pretty good. Not NHS good, but decent.

    But I bet her case was (for a dying person!) probably better than usual for a (U.S.) American.