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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, March 11, 2005
    For the record
    Nick's an academic. Keen observer of life, great commentator on it. Thinks a lot before he speaks; thinks even more before he commits to writing. Two weeks ago he had a quintuple heart by-pass operation. Today I came back from my silent study week to a letter from him which portrays the NHS in rather different terms than you normally read:

    I must have met 100+ people at the Royal and the Cardiothoracic Centre. Without exception, all of them, so far as I was concerned, were humane, sensitive, committed to a degree which sometimes made me feel that I'd moved into a completely different order of things: the Kingdom of Heaven? Many of these people were young, and quite a lot of them came from abroad. In theological terms, it felt as though the Holy Spirit was active in that place, and I wanted to record that feeling. ... The surgeon was fantastic, but of course he could function only by being able to rely on masses of other people who would carry out their instructions with absolute reliability. You got the impression that people wanted to be working there, and enjoyed working together - even enjoyed the patients!