Health and Wellbeing
Priority A - Good health care must recognise and promote chaplaincy services.
The current chaplaincy budgets should be ring fenced.
The importance of on-going chaplaincy input in the transition from hospital to community should be recognised.
A national system should be set up whereby hospitals can identify vicars, ministers and pastors conducting hospital visits, mindful of the fact that there are approximately 25 denominations in Wales and a large number of independent churches.
Priority B - Good spiritual care should be promoted as an integral component of good healthcare.
- The impact of recently introduced regulations to ensure provision of appropriate spiritual care for patients should be assessed.
- Formal recognition should be given to the importance of religious content to spiritual care which is not just about treating people with dignity.
- The important role non-chaplaincy NHS staff can play in the provision of certain aspects of spiritual care should be recognised and encouraged.
Priority C - Whole person health care should be formally recognised and promoted with regards to the:
- Interrelatedness of person and community and the implications of dislocation in this regard with respect to lack of self-worth and consequent risk taking with health implications: drinking excess alcohol, drug taking, comfort eating, smoking etc.
- Importance of family stability and the role of fathers in relation to self-worth in insuring against later risk-taking behaviour. Investment should be made in marriage and relationship support schemes to promote family stability.
- Health care cost of loneliness and to invest in voluntary and community sector initiatives to address loneliness.
Priority D - The investment in the prevention of illness should involve the following:
- The promotion of cheap sporting or other exercise opportunities for all ages. Also, provide places to be active, especially for families with children under 5.
- The promotion of healthy eating, for example healthy food co-ops in schools, especially to families with children under 5.
- Invest more in education: a) regarding obesity, addressing the risk that obese mothers will have children who will be insulin resistant and thus more likely to become obese; b) regarding foetal alcohol syndrome, addressing the risk that alcohol dependent mothers will give birth to children with foetal alcohol syndrome; c) encouraging breast feeding, stopping smoking and safe sex.
Priority E - The following health policy should be revisited:
The morning after pill should no longer be provided free of charge to children and young people because it creates an environment in which they know they can have sex even if they don’t have contraception to hand, justifying taking less care, and it does nothing to address STIs.
Priority F - Dignified care of the elderly and those at the end of life should be improved by adopting and investing more in the following policies:
- Palliative care at home.
- Palliative care training for all doctors including secondments to hospices.
- Hospice care.
Priority G - Action should be taken to ensure full advantage is taken of the proven relationship between religious faith and health and well being by:
- Partnering more extensively with successful Christian Voluntary Sector projects in Wales, so that people increasingly have the option of accessing services in the context of a faith ethos. (Given the commitment to promote diversity and choice, the desire of some people to access services in the context of a faith ethos and the connection between faith, health and well being, this policy is particularly compelling.
- Provision of a similar ‘myth busters’ document to that provided by the previous English Labour Government (and endorsed by the current government) by the Department for Communities and Local Government, to help ensure that faith based welfare projects are not being discriminated against.
- Development of a government investment programme in Christian Voluntary Sector community franchising projects as in England, and on a proportionate basis.
God's blessing is the ultimate source of all good health and wellbeing. Sickness and death are both part of our human experience but God’s love for his world ensured that his son Jesus Christ came to bring hope. It is through Jesus that we see most clearly God’s commitment to establish his kingdom on earth as he taught his disciples to pray ‘your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. This brings the hope of forgiveness, restored relationships, healing, health and wellbeing as we see in Jesus’ ministry and that of his disciples. That the early church did not see the need to bring healing just through miraculous intervention is eloquently underlined by the fact that one of the gospel writers who recorded many of Jesus’ miracles, Luke, was a doctor.