Faith and health leaders gather to discuss compassion

Faith and healthcare leaders gathered at the Birmingham Nishkam Centre to explore new strategies in enhancing compassion in healthcare. The event also launched a faith inspired digital health network to create community inter-dependency in the face of wider healthcare challenges.

Following the publication of the Francis Report earlier this year, healthcare professionals across the service have faced heightened scrutiny over their ability to show compassion and empathy for their patients. Whilst care and compassion have always been the values that have underpinned the ethos of the NHS, they also resonate closely with virtues propagated by all major religious traditions of the world, as core principles of faith.

The event demonstrated the usefulness of sharing values for collective actions by all stakeholders for the common good of healthcare, also helping to enhance compassion for improving lives and uplift humanity.

There was also an opportunity for visitors to sign the International Charter for Compassion, a document which urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion.

Esteemed speakers at the event included:

•Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ)

•Revd Paul Holly, Founder of the Anglican Health Network

•Dr Marius Felderhof, Executive Director of Museum of World Religions

•Toby Lewis, CEO of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust

•Madge Milligan-Green, CEO of OSCAR Birmingham

•Dr Manvir Kaur Hayer, Chairperson of the Nishkam Health Trust

•Jyotveer Singh Gill, Founder of AnonCare

Chief Executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said, “I congratulate AnonCare on something to me that seems to offer exactly the opposite spirit of what we’ve experienced with the NHS IT programme over the last ten years, something that can be grounded in the real values people bring to work rather than something that can be brought to bear from above.”

He went on to say, “In the end this isn’t about a NHS changing or an NHS being replaced, it’s about an NHS and that set of communities we serve, re-connecting with the values that brought us into the health service in the first place. So the challenge we face in delivering the compassion that much of the time we deliver so well, is how we reconnect people who service in the health service not only to the people they serve but to the reason they came to serve in the first place.”

Dr Marius Felderhof, Executive Director of Museum of World Religions said, “The ethos of being valued and loved, together with hope, are key components to health and wellbeing. The major religious traditions are powerful resources for transmitting this ethos and help to counter some of the structural features of institutions and personal life that work to undermine our compassion for others.

The evening was also an opportunity to launch a digital health network to help support patients and go beyond the traditional features of ‘comment, share and like’ to allow users to ‘wish well’ and ‘offer and prayer’ and allow compassion to go viral.

Generated from within our health system and guided in its initial development by the Chairman of GNNSJ, Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, the ‘AnonCare’ heath system is an exciting merger of the latest in technology and practice of age old values that aim to help people feel, understand, and respond to the suffering of others while maintaining genuine relationships of caring across class, creed and boundaries.

The Innovation invites patients, carers and healthcare professionals to reach out to those on the network, who as a result of a health condition, may be subject to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and helplessness. It is anticipated that the compassion networking site will help reduce over reliance on healthcare services by creating inter dependency and inter support and consultation within the community.

Jyotveer Singh Gill, Founder of AnonCare said:  “AnonCare is a fantastic system which presents an opportunity to go beyond self-interest and give of oneself for the good of the other.

“We recognise we are now living in a ‘global village’ and as a result of the digital revolution, we can promote local solutions to national challenges. Through the sharing of information I am convinced members can help encourage others live healthier lives. But this needs individual action for the greater good. I would encourage anyone with an interest in health or healthcare to sign up.”

Chairman of GNNSJ, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh said: “If there is no compassion, there is no religion there is no faith. In fact faith rest on compassion.”

Bhai Sahib went on to say: “We can enhance compassion through empowering people. Our mind is our best friends and worst enemy at the same time, so we are required to address our mind. We need to have a new mind set,  to see how we can go beyond ourselves to help others, how can we more altruistic, how can we be more selfless.

Kulvinder Singh Sandhu, event visitor said: “Attending the event was a fantastic affair. I learned so much from eminent speakers. I went as an individual carer and therefore did not intend to network. It was from one extreme of being at home most of last 8 years spent caring and coordinating care, to sitting in an audience of experts.”

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