Anglican Chaplains work as part of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team, to help create a healing environment in which the spiritual, religious, cultural, and pastoral needs of individual patients, relatives and staff are recognised, valued and safeguarded. The Church of England has always been prominent in promoting health and social care and being at the heart of the NHS since its start in 1948 is no surprise. Nowadays Anglican Chaplains are involved in all aspects of care, working for the NHS to care for all patients, relatives and staff. Chaplains give support and care in many ways, being alongside those in distress, pain or need, regardless of whatever their personal faith or belief. Our remit is to be a resource for the healthcare team to call upon when needed. Sometimes this is to provide religious/sacramental input but often it is more about pastoral care, or helping to ease the burden carried by nursing and medical staff by working with the emotional and psychological issues presented. The Chaplain’s relationship with patients complements that of other staff, creating a healing therapeutic environment that helps those who are facing difficult treatments or bad news. The Chaplain can smooth over problems created through poor communication by acting as an advocate. Sometimes it is just ‘being there’ with those who are anxious that makes the process of healthcare run more smoothly. Chaplains are a source of information and often pick up all manner of issues and queries which do not sit obviously with any of the other professional disciplines within the hospital.
Revd Canon Julian Hemstock, Head of Spiritual and Pastoral Care, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, 10th October 2013