Inclusion and Equality in NHS Chaplaincy Services Report
This report was commissioned by the Executive Committee of the Network for Pastoral, Spiritual, and Religious Care in Health (NPSRCH) in March 2019. An open tendering process was conducted for a ‘Lead Project Planner’ to perform the writing, planning, and production of this report. The tender made by Simon O’Donoghue of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network received unanimous approval from the Executive (Simon did not vote due to the potential conflict of interest). The Network Council voted by an overwhelming majority to publish the final version in January 2020.
We hope that it will be a valuable contribution to stimulating debate and to help to bring many of the key issues raised to the attention of a much broader audience.
The report is visible below but can also be downloaded by clicking here
There are three Christian chaplaincy organisations represented at the Network, they are:
College of Health Care Chaplains
Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains
UK Board for Healthcare Chaplaincy
Religion or Belief Organisations
Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network
National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)
As a public sector employer the NHS must comply with its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 without exception. It is our firm belief that all employment in pastoral, spiritual, and religious care services should be the result of a thorough patient needs assessment, and the most effective way to do that is through an evidenced based equality analysis.
In 2017, after the threat of legal challenge, the Network and the Chaplaincy Leadership Forum worked with NHS England to produce guidance to support NHS recruitment managers in conducting fair and legal recruitment of chaplains. The development of this resource was reinforced by two NHS England training days (Sheffield and London), which were made available to HR Managers and Chaplains.
We have developed a Version 2 of the Recruitment of NHS Chaplains Guidance Document, which is available for download here.
As part of the wider long term plan for developing NHS services in the community, we are currently looking at potential models and approaches for pastoral, spiritual, and religious care services.
Check back here soon for updates.
Religion and Belief Perspectives
We champion the view that through diversity and inclusion, NHS pastoral, spiritual, and religious care services can be more effective and ensure equality for all patients, staff, families, and carers. The composition of our network embodies that view, and is an example of effective cooperation between those of different religions and beliefs, all working together for a common purpose.
Our Network Council is comprised of two members from each of the mainstream religion and belief communities, they are:
If you would like further information about any of the perspectives listed, please email
The Network’s primary objective is to ensure equal access for all patients regardless of religion and belief to pastoral, spiritual, and religious care services. We do this by working closely with the NHS to ensure that due regard is given to the General Equality Duty, set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. NHS Trusts and other public institutions must have due regard to the need to:
Staff and volunteers of pastoral, spiritual, and religious care services are often the best placed to advocate on behalf of those who do not have a voice while in hospital. As a network, it is our mission to promote the moral and practical rationale for inclusive provision, as a means to increasing service uptake for disadvantaged groups.
In 2018, the Network was commissioned to develop a toolkit that chaplaincy teams could use in order to evaluate and improve their service delivery models in relation to Equality and Diversity (E&D). You can download the toolkit and supporting documents or view them online below:
Starting out in Healthcare Chaplaincy Course
For the last four years, the Network has been supporting the development of pathways for volunteers into NHS Pastoral, Spiritual, and Religious Care services through our 'Starting Out in Healthcare Chaplaincy' course (course details below). In 2017, we were commissioned to carry out an impact evaluation of our course, the full report can be found here.
Our ‘Starting Out in Healthcare Chaplaincy' course has supported the growth and development of nearly 150 new high quality volunteers from a range of religion and belief backgrounds, several of whom have gone on to secure paid positions in chaplaincy.
Sadly, from April 2019 NHS England will no longer be funding this programme, but we will continue to seek funding from additional sources and we will be arranging new courses as soon as possible. Check back here soon or sign up to our mailing list for updates.
We rely on donations from our generous benefactors. Please support us
Please consider supporting our efforts.
A healthcare chaplain representing the Jain community has to have knowledge of Jain principles and be known in the local community to be of good social standing. This is evidenced in their reference from the leader of their local community, and is demonstrated in their behaviour with friends and members of the community. Knowledge of scriptures and rituals is preferable but not essential as the candidate is given appropriate training.
Awaiting More information.