Dear all
I sent round the press release yesterday about the latest attack on hospital chaplaincy by the NSS. I have been asked to do a number of radio interviews on Sunday with the president of the NSS, and would greatly appreciate any up-to-date information on efficacy of chaplaincy, any latest UK research about either hospital chaplaincy or the role of spiritual care - or indeed any articles you may have written in support of healthcare chaplaincy particularly in the UK.
Many thanks for your help - and I have attached another copy of the press release and a statement that has been issued in response
Revd Mia AK Hilborn
Head of Spiritual Health Care and Chaplaincy Team Leader
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
 x81187  02071881187  [log in to unmask]   
The Chaplaincy, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH
NHS chaplains 'no clinical benefit'
(UKPA) 2 days ago
The NHS spends £29 million on hospital chaplains which provide "no clinical benefit" and there is huge variation in costs, according to a report.
Data obtained by the National Secular Society (NSS) from 227 trusts in England found savings of £18.5 million a year could be made if all trusts brought their spending into line with those who spent the least.
The society argues this cash could be better spent on 1,000 nursing assistants or a new community hospital every year.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, analysts compared the amount spent on chaplains in 2009/10 with how well trusts performed on some quality indicators, including death rates. They reported that those with the lowest spend on chaplaincy services were some of the best-performing hospitals.
The NSS concluded the NHS "wastes millions every year" on services that have no clinical benefit.
NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood said: "Taxpayers will be shocked to learn how much healthcare money is diverted into paying for chaplaincy services. The cash-strapped NHS should spend its money on frontline services. This study shows that massive savings can be made immediately, with no impact on clinical care."
But 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."
Father Peter Scott, adviser for healthcare chaplaincy to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said that, according to the NSS calculations, 0.000029% of the NHS 2009/10 budget was spent on employing 500 whole time and 800 part-time chaplains "to meet the spiritual and religious needs of 1.7 million NHS staff and to serve a patient turnover of one million patients every 36 hours".
He said the Department of Health website makes clear it is "impossible to say exactly how much the nation's health improves for each pound spent by the NHS".
From the NSS:
The National Secular Society advocates equal access to healthcare and associated NHS services for all patients and NHS staff irrespective of their belief system or lack of one. The present system of hospital chaplaincy services leads to unequal care; many patients do not share the particular religion of the appointed chaplain. Whether or not chaplains offer their services to all, this is not an acceptable compromise for a large proportion of our diverse society who rightly expect and deserve the state to fund non-discriminatory services. Nowhere is this more important than where people are at their most vulnerable; in a hospital environment.

Our latest study of NHS Trusts in England has shown that £29m of healthcare money was used to pay for hospital chaplains in 2009/10. The study revealed that many of the country’s best hospitals spent the lowest proportion of their expenditure on chaplaincy services and concluded that the NHS wastes millions every year on services that have no clinical benefit.

English NHS Trusts were asked how much they spent on hospital chaplaincy services using the Freedom of Information Act. The proportion that trusts spent on chaplaincy was compared to how well it performed on national quality ratings. The results showed huge variations in the proportions that similar hospitals spend, and that if all NHS Trusts brought their spending into line with the best Trusts, savings of £18.5m a year would be made. £18.5m could pay for 1,000 nursing assistants or a brand new community hospital every year.

The major religious bodies in the UK are some of the wealthiest organisations in the country. For example, the Church of England has assets recently estimated at £6 billion. We contend that if churches, mosques and temples wish to have representation in hospitals to visit those patients who want some religious support whilst in hospital, they should do it at their own expense.


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