Best before… Sell-by Date

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We’ve been listening to the Prime Minister’s announcements on funding increases for the NHS and social care sector and how this increase will be paid for…

Stories have been told of families paying hundreds of thousands of pounds on the care required for elderly relatives…

Local children with rare illnesses get much deserved sympathy. We mourn tragic, unexpected deaths of young people. Folk are very generous in giving to appropriate charities and memorial funds.

The plight of elderly adults, those with physical and mental disabilities, is too often ignored or forgotten….

Rachel was turning out a cupboard at church yesterday. She cut herself and went to the first aid box. Items there were out of date… A plaster… out of date?

Milk in the fridge says ‘Use by 17 Sep’. I get that. I remember life without fridges and sour milk. The ‘Chocolate Hobnobs’ says ‘Best Before 22 Jan 22’. I understand. Stale biscuits aren’t ‘best’ – but ‘22 Jan’? What happens on 23 Jan?

Recently our dishwasher broke down, filled with dirty smelly water. We’d bought it in October 2017. Younger son said, ‘Buy a new one’. We looked at our documents. We’d taken out a 5 year warranty…

The dishwasher’s now repaired, returned and working well.

And the elderly, disabled or vulnerable?  The unspoken suggestion is sometimes that perhaps they were ‘best before’ their 70th birthday; they’ve passed their sell-by date; their guarantee has expired. They are worth less, perhaps worthless and should be thrown away…

People are not valued by their achievements or usefulness. There’s no expiry date, leaving at the back of the cupboard or convenient disposal.

The Christian teaching of being ‘made in the image of God’ or ‘loving our neighbour’ has no restriction based on nationality, gender, disability or age. All are of equal immeasurable value.

Both our national healthcare funding system, and our personal attitudes and actions, should reflect this ‘no-sell-by-date’ principle.

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