The Kirk’s Moderator has joined tributes to healthcare staff as the NHS prepares to mark its 72nd anniversary this weekend.
The Rt. Rev Dr Martin Fair is encouraging people to take part in the one-off clap for carers event on Sunday at 5pm to celebrate the milestone.
“The NHS is a vital part of our social fabric,” said Dr Fair, minister of St Andrew’s Church in Arbroath.
“It is remarkable that a society would embark on a mission to offer health, healing and care to every citizen at the point of need. This is an act of collective kindness, generosity and solidarity.
“It is a national endeavour in loving our neighbour, and in 2020 we have seen the institution and its people respond to unprecedented challenges.”
Kirk ministers and deacons among their numbers, are at the heart of supporting patients relatives and staff in hospitals, clinics and hospices.
Mark Evans, head of spiritual care for NHS Fife, described the NHS as an “amazing resource”.
“As a society we are so lucky to have such a comprehensive healthcare service,” said Mr Evans, president of the Church of Scotland Deaconate.
“Despite the challenges, the standard of care, research and treatment is world beating and we take it for granted at our peril.”
Mr Evans, who first started work for the NHS 30 years ago as a student nurse, said healthcare chaplains who provide pastoral and spiritual support play a unique role.
“The last three months have been very busy and challenging and in Fife we have seen a 100% increase in referrals just from staff.
“Simply asking people, from domestics to consultants, ‘how are you?’ makes a huge difference.
“Our role is about relationships and we do not provide answers or a prescription, we are impartial and come with empty hands and an open heart.”