Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NHS chaplains hit back at criticism from secular society

  • 1 Comment

The trade union Unite, which includes the College of Health Care Chaplains, has hit back at claims that churches and religious groups should fund chaplaincy services in the NHS.

The union dismissed what it called ‘sweeping generalisations’ made by the National Secular Society (NSS) yesterday. The society said the NHS in England spent £32m a year on chaplaincy services, which it said would be better spent on nurses and other clinical staff.

But in a statement Unite said chaplains took pressure off nurses by dealing with bereaved families and save on external funeral fees for patients without relatives. On call chaplains ensure the highest professional standards when dealing with baby and child deaths, the union said.

Revd Dr Chris Swift, a former President of Unite/The College of Health Care Chaplains, said: ‘The NSS report is based on erroneous and simplistic assumptions that do not delve into the real work that chaplains from all faiths carry out in the NHS on daily basis in often emotionally fraught situations.

‘Over and over again, our members receive feedback from relatives and friends on how useful and comforting it was to have a NHS chaplain on hand,’ he added.

‘I would like to see more independent research and objective study into the value of NHS chaplaincy. This research would demonstrate that chaplains are worth more than the notional £40m quoted by the NSS,’ he said.

‘The value of the chaplaincy service has been repeatedly recognised by the Department of Health.’

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think it was a cheap shot of the NSS to target the relatively tiny chaplaincy budget to suggest that they were potentially depriving patients of nursing by being employed! If the chaplaincy team in my Trust were pro-rata replaced by nursing staff it would not even begin to scratch the surface of our nursing shortage. There is much waste in the NHS but, in my opinion, the chaplains and their holistic outlook are not part of it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.