2 March 2024

Healthcare policy: A biblical view

The Reverend John Bottomley, Dr Travers McLeod, Associate Professor Robyn Whitaker, Archbishop Philip Freier, Stephen Duckett and Professor Nathan Grills at the launch. Picture: supplied 

Stephen Duckett

26 November 2023

A newly published work draws out themes which should inform healthcare policy from the parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10. 

University of Divinity Religion and Social Policy Network member Stephen Duckett’s work Healthcare Funding and Christian Ethics was launched at St Peter’s Eastern Hill in November. 

It explores the themes of compassion as a motivator, addressing the question of why we care; inclusivity or social justice as to benefits, who do we care for; and stewardship of resources required to achieve the ends of treatment and prevention, that is, what should be provided. 

Three panellists reflected on the book. Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Travers McLeod accepted that the three principles could apply more broadly, and were relevant for community services. However, Dr McLeod challenged Duckett’s conception of the responsible stewardship principle, saying it was potentially overly individually-oriented. He argued that responsible stewardship should also emphasise the role of stewardship of the whole system. 
Pilgrim College’s Associate Professor Robyn Whitaker addressed the book’s focus on public theology and the call for compassionate and prophetic Christian voices in the public square. She also raised the question of social justice, in particular, pointing out that those not at the decision-making table could be adversely affected by decisions about them. 

Finally, University of Melbourne Professor of Global Health Nathan Grills discussed the application of the book’s principles to low- and middle-income countries, using India as an example, and argued that it was even more relevant in those countries. 

Healthcare Funding and Christian Ethics is available through St Peter’s Bookroom, bit.ly/46nMiw6. 

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