‘The Good Samaritan Nurse in a Secular Age’. October 2023

It is aimed at all Health professionals, students and the public alike. Issues of the day in healthcare are examined including the legal and professional developments which may impact on conscience.

It can be bought at usual outlets, including St Paul’s Catholic bookstore, Victoria, Birmingham and Leeds branches. It is also in e – book form.

Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing

Author : Teresa Lynch

ISBN-13: 978-1803812953 

A review by Monsignor Michael Nazir – Ali:

“This detailed work has been written for the nursing profession. As such, it offers a great deal of wisdom about the background to the profession as it is now and, in particular, its Christian inspiration and commitment. It also highlights the moral dilemmas faced by professionals in this area and suggests compassionate but principled responses to these. It alerts, both professionals and others, to developments that may work against the welfare of patients and the cornerstone principles of doing good and not harm in the practice of medicine. The traditional commitment here of respect for the person and the valuing of life at all its stages is congruent with the teaching of the Catholic Church and Catholics and other Christians should uphold it in every way that they can.

There is an emphasis on the wholeness of approach in both the curative and the caring aspects of the profession. The nurse, especially, must be seen to be one who values patients as persons, who keeps their best interests in mind and who intercedes for them both with the divine and with authority in the medical world.

Teresa has not been afraid to tackle the most difficult issues in her extensive work and always with her loyalty to the best in the nursing tradition and to authentic Christian teaching.

                Those not in her profession, such as clergy, moral theologians, seminary teachers etc, will also benefit from the thoroughness of this book which will become a compendium not only of good nursing practice but also of serious moral issues to be addressed in the world of medicine. For this service, we should all be grateful to her”.

 Msgr Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. OXTRAD: Oxford Centre for Training,   Research, Advocacy & Dialogue


June 2023

In Vaccination: A Catholic Perspective, Biologist, Pamela Acker provides a balanced examination of the whole subject of vaccination from a Catholic perspective which will allow Catholic leaders from the Pope and the Bishops down to parents and teachers to make an informed judgment on proposals to mandate vaccinations for the novel coronavirus or for other infectious diseases.  The author is ideally qualified to undertake this task.  A devout Catholic with a master’s degree in Biology from the Catholic University of America, Pamela worked in the field of vaccine development and has the right combination of knowledge and experience to evaluate the scientific basis for vaccination as currently practised.  In her book, she takes the reader through the history of vaccination while giving a comprehensive introduction to the marvels of the divinely-designed human immune system. 

    Drawing upon the latest research in the field, the author elucidates the many problematic aspects of vaccination as currently practiced and explains how they flow out of a materialistic, mechanistic, evolution-based understanding of the human person which tends to see man as a collection of parts rather than as a divinely-designed body-soul composite.  With powerful examples Ms Acker shows how the evolution-based approach to the study of disease has had disastrous consequences for scientific and medical research and has supported the maintenance of inadequate criteria for evaluating the efficacy and the dangers of vaccination as currently practised.

Association of Catholic Nurses USA. June 2023.


Covid 19 and Treatment access

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) interim review (2020), has found unacceptable and inappropriate ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ (DNACPR) notices were made at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings come after the CQC raised concerns that older and vulnerable people may have had DNACPR decisions made without their consent or may have made them without enough details for an informed decision (Hackett, 2020).  This is a sensitive question at the best of times. But consent is a precious right for all patients and to obtain it is a skill required of nurses (and doctors) with each patient admission where appropriate and possible. One example of the pressure and confusion during the early days of the pandemic, the CQC noted that guidance intended to help clinicians assess frailty as part of a wider, holistic assessment around the appropriateness of critical care, may have been interpreted as the sole basis for clinical decisions in some instances. 

Coronavirus demands on the NHS resources are outstripping supply and those responsible for our care and well-being are facing challenging decisions. What may well be on all our minds is what provision will be available if I, or a loved one, is in need of treatment and life-support in these circumstances. While we would all agree that the allocation of resources must be done, as fairly, as possible, the criteria of fairness must be clear and shared by us all. These principles apply both morally and in law, which governs our expectations and rights on health and social care.As Christians our starting point is that we are all made equally in the image of God. Human value is not a measure of our mental or physical capacity, our societal function, our age, our health or of any other qualitative assessment. God made each of us and in so doing gave us all equal dignity and value. This is never lost during sickness or dying.It is important to bear in mind in any discussion of resource allocation and medical rationing when the tension between the appropriate treatment and scarcity of resources has, in most people’s experience, never been so visible.

A decision against offering a certain life-prolonging treatment to an individual must never be a judgement based on the worthwhileness of that person’s life, including their age or other social characteristics, but a pragmatic decision about the likelihood of him/her benefiting from the intervention given their medical condition. This principle has been upheld in case law repeatedly and the NHS Constitution itself is clear that we should deliver care and support in a way that achieves dignity and compassion for each and every person we serve. Until the current pandemic, resources have always been allocated according to medical need and benefit to the patient. Today this approach must be complemented by maximising scarce resources for the common good and so prognosis, and the likelihood of benefit becomes the overriding criteria.

People with underlying health conditions should discuss the sort of treatment they may want with their families so that good communication is possible in a crisis. Each of us may be presented with clinical scenarios which are both unwelcome and distressing, yet doctors are faced with making the least-worst decisions. This approach helps us to focus on the common good. Similarly, Catholics will focus on the benefit of a particular treatment for the person taking into consideration all medical factors. This, again, helps us to focus on the common good of all and best meets the principles of justice and equality (Moth et al, 2020). It has been argued further that the miseries for the elderly in their care homes, to ensure their safety from Covid 19, being unable to see even one of their family members, for visits, should be weighed against the need for love and compassion.  

It has been realised how hard it is for the elderly in care to be without visitors, so a pilot study of one named relative being allowed to visit with regular testing, is being initiated. Every last precautionary measure of infection prevention… “should not trump the deaths in loneliness of tens of thousands. When the elderly people are no longer with us, due to their deaths by Covid 19, we shall look back on how we treated the institutionalised elderly in this year of Covid 19 and be ashamed” (Parris, 2020). This criticism cannot overlook, however, those dedicated staff, the Good Samaritans, who tried their very best to care for the vulnerable elderly in care homes which involved being apart from their own families to protect their residents from the risk of Covid 19.



Hackett, K.  (2020). DNACPR notices: review finds ‘unacceptable and inappropriate’ use early in pandemic. Care Quality Commission says older and vulnerable people most at risk. Nursing Standard, 4 December.

Moth, R., Mason, P., Sherrington, J. (2020). Coronavirus and Access to Treatment, RCDOW. Monday, April 20th, 2020 @ 1:10 pm

Parris, M. (2020). It’s shameful how we have treated our elderly. The Spectator. 14 November.



Baby Charlie Gard dies. Latest ethical analysis – clash of interests: life and death.  July 29th 2017: 

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (Oxford, 2017) press statement, entitled: “Doing the right thing for the right reasons” presents a well-balanced ethical analysis, see the following link:

The Conversation: Should euthanasia be available for people with existential suffering? (with acknowledgements to BioEdge, see the following link) :



The term ‘end of life’ usually refers to the last year of life, although for some people this will be significantly shorter. The term palliative care is often used interchangeably with end of life care. However, palliative care largely relates to symptom management, rather than actual end of life care.

The RCN believes that end of life care is not just the responsibility of specialist nurses and teams, rather that everyone should be able to care for a loved one as they reach the end of their lives, including all nurses and health care support workers in all settings, the patient’s family as well as members of the community.

End of life care is not just the practical and technical delivery of care provided to the individual who is dying, but also refers to the support and information available both to them and the people who are important to them, e.g. bereavement support.

Due to an unacceptable variance in the availability of services and professional expertise available to patients, many people are experiencing poor care at a time when they and their families need it to be at its best. The RCN is committed to ensuring that nurses working with people who are dying are given the support they need to understand their role. See the following link for more detail:


Nutrition and hydration:

Royal College of Nursing :

Spirituality Survey (RCN: 2010)

A guide to Spirituality for Catholic Nurses:


The complexity of nurses’attitudes toward euthanasia: a review of the literature


CHRONIC CONDITIONS: A rapid synthesis of the evidence on interventions supporting

 self-management for people with long term conditions. Health Services and

 Delivery Research, Taylor et al. (2014) 2(53) pp.1-580.  Available via the link: (Web).

LEARNING DISABILITY:– news/people-with-learning-disabilities-face-nhs-discrimination-2006395.html 


Challenging Medical Ethics: Two books by Dr Gill Craig:

1)  No Water – No Life: Hydration in the Dying

2) Patients in Danger: the Dark Side of Medical Ethics

  • Lord, when did we see you sick? A Journey with the Sick by a Hospital Chaplain

    Author: Father Michael Stack.

  To access the above books, please email[email protected]

Wesley J Smith (2006):Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die.

Filled with new reporting and research, this expanded edition of a classic book makes a compelling case against legalized euthanasia and takes a closer look at the truly humane and compassionate alternatives.

  • Fear and False Promises: The Challenge of Pain in the Terminally Ill (1995). Dr John Scott.

(In : EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE (1995): The Current Debate, ed. Ian Gentles. Toronto.  Stoddart Books) .


Nursing Innovation: A Nursing project to improve the care of people at the end of life by emphasising patient experience, has selected 19 teams to join.

 ‘The Point of Care Foundation’, an independent charity, in 2016, supported eight teams on its

‘Living Well to the Very End’ programme (LWVE). The new cohort of multi-disciplinary healthcare

teams is funded by the Health Foundation and supported by NHS England. Oxford University

Hospital NHS Foundation Trust ward sister, Frances Riley was involved in the LWVE programme

in 2016. Her ward made a number of practical changes, including:

  • Drawing up an updated written procedure, drafted and owned by ward nurses, for the care of each patient’s body after death.

  • Ensuring nurses attend regular meetings with families and doctors when end of life care is discussed.

  • Providing training on end of life medication and syringe drivers for nursing staff, with prompts to ensure early prescribing.

  • Sending a sympathy card from ward staff to family members on the death of a patient, with a personalised message from the nurse who cared for the patient.

Ms Riley said that being involved in the project had given her ward a good opportunity to focus on end of life care.˜We spent every week of the year doing it, and trying to achieve it has really meant something to the ward.

Engaging doctors

  • Ms Riley said one challenge had been engaging doctors in the process.˜We are a nurse-led team and it has been difficult to get the doctor’s involvement in some of the care we give and getting them to help us with our decision making. Ms Riley advises new LWVE teams to allow themselves plenty of time and emphasised how important regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings had been to the project’s success.The Point of Care Foundation head of improvement Bev Fitzsimons said: “The great thing about this programme is that many of the improvements that are beneficial to patients do not take significant time or money for staff to implement. “The changes we see look simple, but it is only by having the time to take a step back that staff can notice seemingly small things, such as practical aspects that add stress at an already difficult time.These are incredibly important changes that can be underestimated when outcome measures focus on clinical care.

  • Read more on this initiative:

  • Changing Practice in Health and Social Care. Davies C . (2000) This is a set book for the Open University course K302 Critical Practice in Health and Social Care

  • Topics examined include: accountability to service users, funders and communities; the skills needed for teamwork and collaboration; and ethical dilemmas of working in conditions of resource constraint, and engaging in questions of quality and performance review. The chapters reflect the similarities and differences between the NHS and social services


        VIDEOS you might like to watch:

  • The Mother Situation  – Black Australian ‘comedy’ on ‘Assisted Suicide’ :