The Hospital Ward – 2 July 2018

Here in The Hospital Ward the sick are in recovery, being nursed back to health. Soon they will be able to go home, rejoining their communities. The ward is busy because it is visiting time. The patients are resting in bed, but the visitors are full of energy (is the woman dressed in light blue leading a ‘hokey cokey’?). Little dogs are so eager to see their owners they have escaped their walkers and have made their way to the hospital. The lack of wall at the bottom of the picture allows the distinction between inside and outside to be blurred.

This week in the UK we mark the seventieth anniversary of the National Health Service. For very many of us the thanksgivings of this week will be personal, we have received the care we needed at times of crisis, enjoying longer lives as a result. We know what it is to be admitted to a ward such as this one, to watch the recovery (or otherwise) of fellow patients, to be looking out for the friendly faces of a loved one and visitors. We know the relief of hearing the words ‘you can go home today’.

The artist is Fred Yates (1922-2008), a self-taught British artist. His work is influenced by folk (or naïve) art and uses bold colours and a loose brushwork to give a fluid and lively effect. After World War II he painted in Manchester, working alongside L S Lowry.


Lord Jesus,
you came as the good physician
to those in need of a doctor.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You underwent the labours of the cross,
that you might bring the new creation to birth.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

You give yourself to your people
the true medicine of immortality.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

New Patterns for Worship

Prayer for the NHS
Creator God,
who knits each person together in their mother’s womb:
it is you who reveal knowledge to scientists and doctors.
We thank you for the heritage of medical breakthrough,
expertise and welfare we enjoy in our nation,
freely available to us because of your revelation,
and the faithfulness of previous generations.
Renew thanksgiving in our hearts for what we have received
because of others’ work and sacrifice.
Healer of nations,
you provide insight to all who seek you, and defend those in need.
We thank you for the gift of health services in our nation,
freely available to everyone no matter
their background, income level or need.
Give your wisdom to our government, health professionals,
and advisers as they seek the right reforms.
Bless our health service to thrive, to prosper, and to heal.
Bless our doctors and nurses to care, to excel, and to bring healing.
Bless our nation to understand, thank, and honour
those who seek to bring us health.
For everything that is good comes from you.