Julian Mann has been vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire since 2000. Before getting ordained he was a reporter for Retail Week. He is married to Lisa and they have four teenage sons.
Even the most ardent secularist cannot deny that Christian believers played a major part in the development of health care in Britain, particularly in the second half of the nineteenth century. Yes, it is true that rivalry between different Christian denominations hampered the efforts of health care reformers in that period. But improvements were achieved by such outstanding individuals as Florence Nightingale and Sidney Herbert, who had a strong sense of Christian vocation.
A personal account of one's own experience of the NHS is inevitably anecdotal, but hopefully constructive nonetheless. I have been regularly visiting parishioners in hospitals since I was ordained 17 years ago. In that time I have ministered to people suffering from a wide range of physical and mental conditions. I have also been a patient in the NHS during the past ten years, suffering from a chest condition that took some time to diagnose and so involved several visits to hospital.