A ‘hidden violence’ towards those in need of care

Society is being debased by an institutionalised “hidden violence” towards those most in need of care and protection, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales said yesterday. He also criticised the NHS for treating some patients with a lack of humanity.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols used a special service at Westminster Cathedral to make a highly personal speech, striking out against what he described as a widespread lack of compassion towards the sick and the dying. “There is a hidden violence in so many of our systems, even those of care,” he told the congregation at the annual mass for the sick, at which the ill are anointed with oil and prayers are said for their recovery.

Too often, he said, the NHS reduces those most in need of comfort and compassion to nothing more than “a bundle of genes and actions”.

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