Chaplains are very useful

The role of the hospital chaplain is under attack from the National Secular Society. In a recent report [read it here]. In it they claim that chaplains could  be cut with no effect on healthcare and that the NHS 'wastes millions of pounds' on  these services that provide 'no clinical benefit'.

It is of course a shame that they left their brains at the door when they wrote this.  In a fairly balanced article  in the Health Services Journal [read it here - only if you subscribe], The Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, said the NSS was:

"guilty of a laughable misuse of statistical information". He added: "It is widely accepted within the medical profession that healthcare involves looking after the whole person, not just the body. It is equally obvious that national quality ratings can only be used to measure the discrete criteria which they have been designed to measure. The role of hospital chaplains in a regime of holistic care is not in doubt among serious practitioners."

They also seem to have forgotten the fact that there is ample scientific evidence that there are direct benefits to healthcare and recovery from chaplaincy and related spiritual interventions. To  say these services have no clinical benefit is just not true. to read some of the evidence available, see our 'Hot Topic' on spirituality on the NHS. Chaplains are of particular benefit in mental health services, but there are benefits across the board as this major new review [PDF] examines.

Do you value your local hospital chaplain and the valuable work they do?  Write to your MP now, and post a comment below.
Rob Waller, 12/04/2011
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