Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Save the Hospital Chaplains

I managed to listen to most of the Jeremy Vine show today without ranting. (Well I did bang the desk and shout Right On Brother Sheridan at Tommy). But I was really disturbed by the story about the NHS Trust which is saving £100,000 by cutting 6 out of 7 chaplains. More here

This disturbs me quite a lot. I'm not religious in the slightest, but I can see the benefits of a strong chaplaincy system in the NHS. I may not be religious, but many people are. Speaking from my own religious background it is important for Catholics to have the last rites, and I don't know that I could say now that when my time comes I won't feel that I need that. We must respect the strong religious faith that many people have, particularly at such a sensitive time in their life and possibly end of their life.

Chaplains also offer support to relatives and to staff. It can't be easy for (as an example) a nurse on a children's cancer ward - surely it is good staff management to offer support to people who do a difficult job.

And is this really going to save money? £100,000 isn't a lot of money in a Trust's budget. We are always been told that a strong mental attitude will speed recovery and aid early release. Surely the presence of a supportive person who can perhaps spend time with a patient, helping them through a stressful time, when a nurse can't spare that time, will ease recovery?

This seems like a very easy option which has been taken by just looking at a balance sheet. Perhaps there should have been more examination of saving money by cutting management and people who roam the wards with clipboards.

I hope the publicity makes the Trust reconsider.

1 comment:

Tracie said...

I hope that the trust will reconsider, as well. For all the reason you said and more. There is so much that chaplains do to lend support and help, I don't think that most people realize just how big of a job it is, and very much needed.