Today the NHS is 70 years old. Happy Birthday NHS! Thank you for all the incredible, compassionate, skilled, free health care you have offered to every person, family, neighbourhood and region of the UK since 1948. We appreciate you, and all the countless stars who help to make you what you are.
Dear NHS, it's a little-known fact that you and The Healing Trust go back a long way. We were founded six years after you, in 1954. In those days we were called the National Federation of Spiritual Healers, or NFSH for short. From the beginning, there were doctors and nurses within the NHS who valued the way we could help patients to feel better, improving symptoms and encouraging relaxation. Our historian, Charlie Kennedy, has been looking through the archives.
Thanks to Charlie we know that in 1959, healers were given permission to work in hospitals. This is how that came about. Gordon Turner, Chairman of the NFSH, proposed "to contact hospitals to get assent that patients desiring the help of a healer should have it". Within seven months, 276 hospital authorities with 1,743 hospitals agreed, provided the doctor in charge had prior knowledge. By January 1960, four more hospital boards had also given their permission for NFSH healers to attend the sick in their hospitals.
And do you know, there have, as far as we can tell, always been healers working in hospitals since that time. One notable example is Ruth Kaye, Fellow of The Healing Trust. Ruth began with the Healing Trust in the 1980s. In 1991 she was invited into the NHS as a volunteer Natural Healer. In 2006 she became a staff member... and she's still working within the NHS at the age of 82.
Another notable example is healer Sandy Edwards, who instigated a controlled medical study to evaluate the effectiveness of spiritual healing provided by Healing Trust members. The research was led by the University of Birmingham, and revealed excellent results. Following the academic publication, Sandy has written and published a highly readable book on the subject, called 'Healing in a Hospital'.
Dear NHS, we have always supported you and the wonderful work that you do, and we will always continue to support you. Enjoy your celebrations. You absolutely deserve them.