YP Letters: We must focus on the spritual side of our NHS

Does the NHS do enough to reflect the spiritual needs of patients?
Does the NHS do enough to reflect the spiritual needs of patients?
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From: Julie Burton, Park Lane, Bishop Wilton, York.

The NHS and the Government need a reality check to grasp the bigger picture. Although our country is labouring over an arduous Brexit deal to leave the EU, Brexit cannot be blamed in its entirety for the departure of nurses from the profession – far from it.

We need to engage with the reality of what’s happening from within. The NHS was built on Christian foundations, but these have been chipped away. In 2011, Archbishop Sentamu was calling for more spiritual help on NHS in a debate in the House of Lords on an amendment of an NHS Bill.

The Royal College of Nursing Spirituality Survey in 2010 by Professor Wilf McSherry highlighted that 90 per cent felt spirituality was essential in holistic care requiring equal attention and integration in nursing practice yet, disturbingly, 92.2 per cent of respondents felt only sometimes did they meet their patients spiritual needs.

Yet the new Nice Report guidelines in March 2017 requesting all health professionals should be more proactive in asking about spiritual needs, especially when nearing end of life as only one in seven cases were documented, confirms we have moved no further on. An increase of spiritual awareness is needed more than ever in our overstretched NHS.