Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Manger danger

There are days when you worry about the state of the Manx NHS. And then there are other days when you really worry about it - especially when it caves in to pitchfork-waving simpletons stirred up by priests.
Which isn't to say that all clergy contact with the health service is negative. For example, when the bishop spouts guff like this (see http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/68929/bishop-bemoans-political-correctness ) I know at once that he doesn’t talk to his own hospital chaplain, who probably put the display up in the empty chapel as usual because he actually knows and respects the beliefs of hospital staff. In my dealings with the last generation of hospital chaplains on a committee, I also knew them as three tolerant, kindly lads with definite party lines but prepared to understand and work with others to the common good.
But the island's hospitals have always been a little, well.... rustic compared to UK equivalents, and it did take years of effort just to get things relatively scientific. Even five years ago I knew of a superstitious senior hospital official who never took a major decision without consulting her priest. Thankfully, he was slightly more worldly than she was, and I gather talked her out of a few schemes straight out of Lourdes.
Sadly, those wise old heads are now retired, and their replacements are either under orders from area management to concentrate on rich invalids or just from Christianity's lunatic fringe anyway. In addition to one replacement (the one who stirred up the nativity scandal) being a sectarian fright, representatives of the island's freak sects (formerly kept at bay by hospital staff) now freely roam the corridors looking for victims.
All of which makes this (see http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/68928/it-s-humbug-health-chiefs-dispel-nativity-decoration-rumour ) somewhat inevitable.
What next? Homoeopathy, “services of spiritual healing” .....leeches ....... exorcisms?
Laugh if you like, but two of the above are already on tap at the island's semi-privatised hospice (a centre of spiritual excrement, sadly, ever since its unfortunate conception), so not quite the plot for a black comedy starring, say, Mark Gatiss that it ought to be.

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