from the National Secular Society (UK)
Hospitals in England are now being directed to have more chaplaincy support for non-religious patients.
The report, Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care, sets out to “respond to changes in the NHS, society and the widening understanding of spiritual, religious and pastoral care.”
The guidance states that “it is important to note that people who do not hold a particular religious affiliation may still require pastoral support in times of crisis” and defines chaplaincy as “intended to also refer to non-religious pastoral and spiritual care providers who provide care to patients, family and staff”.
The guidance also makes clear that patients and service users have a right to expect that chaplaincy care will be experienced as neither insensitive nor proselytising.
This will take some “culture change” in public places, calling on administrators to make sure Preachers who call themselves “Chaplains” are carefully monitored, and to assure that patients have a Real Choice when it comes to care of their well-being.
(I also agree with the National Secular Society that Chaplains of particular faiths should not be receiving public funds; they should be funded by their own faith. AND, we should continue to ask the hard questions like, “What is Good Chaplaincy and Who is really a Chaplain?”)