has anyone played with a shaman as leader?

the party so far is as follows:

human barbarian 18 str 16 con 31hps level 1 AC14

half elf swordmage 18int 16 con 31hps level 1 AC19

tiefling warlock infernal 18 con 30hps level 1 AC14

dwarf twf ranger with craghammers 18 str 30 hps level 1 AC14

now the leader player is thinking of playing a shaman protector spirit probably a dwarf and potentially starting out 18 wis and con. now this will result in another low AC character with tons of hps and surges.

did a quick playtest with the party last night, using only encounter powers and no action points (no dailies etc) up against a level 3 encounter and they took a bit of a pasting...which you'd expect anyway.

however i'm interested in the healing power of the shaman and the way it can heal people without using up surges. (their version of healing word gives a surge to a pc plus con mod and another character regains d6 hps...between fights if they give out one surge to three different characters this leaves them 3d6 hps healing to a fourth character without that character using up any surges)

in the fight the spirit never got to use the interrupt powers, the monsters could always shift and attack. arguably they are useful in the right situation but i don't think they will often get benefit.

anyone with experience using a shaman for the leader? i can see them being a fantastic secondary healer for the reasons above, but as the primary? so views please?