Integration of faith & belief into healthcare

Welcome to the Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group’s new website. We hope you will find the site useful and informative.

Please send any comments or suggestions to our Chief Officer, Debbie Hodge.

We champion …

  • Equal access for patients and staff to spiritual, pastoral and religious care.
  • Equal opportunity for all faith and belief groups to provide chaplaincy services and to have their chaplains and chaplaincy volunteers accepted by Trusts and hospitals.
  • The strength of faith and belief communities working together to serve the spiritual, pastoral and religious care needs of all.
  • The positive impact of spiritual, pastoral and religious care on patient experience and health outcomes.

NHS England Chaplaincy Project

The NHS England website explains the Chaplaincy Project.

From 1 April 2013, the NHS Chaplaincy Programme transitioned from Department of Health to NHS England and currently managed by the National Equality and Health Inequalities team within the Commissioning Strategy Directorate.

The NHS Chaplaincy Programme and budget is project managed by the Free Churches Group on behalf of NHS England and assurance monitored through a Grant based Service Level Agreement.

From 1 April 2015, the NHS Chaplaincy programme will be hosted by the Nursing Directorate.

The Department of Health and NHS England have never been involved in commissioning chaplaincy services locally, as this has always been determined locally.

What the NHS Chaplaincy programme aims to achieve for improved patient care outcomes.

The NHS Chaplaincy programme is part of NHS England’s drive to ensure good patient care and compliance with policy and legislative drivers:

  • Compliance with the legal duties in the Equality Act 2010 – ensuring due regard to the protected characteristics on religion and belief
  • Compliance with the NHS Constitution Principle 1 of ensuring comprehensive service for all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, religion, belief.
  • Compliance with NHS England’s business planning for 2013 – 14 ‘Putting people first’ Priority 8 in Promoting equality and reducing inequalities in health outcomes and the Five Year Forward
  • View on Empowering Patients and Engaging Communities.

In September 2013, the Chaplaincy Leaders Forum (CLF) was developed as an effective mechanism for dialogue between NHS England, and the wider chaplaincy associations listed below:

  • College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC)
  • Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (AHPCC)
  • UK Board of Healthcare Chaplains (UKBHC)
  • Health Care Chaplaincy Appointment Advisers
  • Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group (HCFBG) which includes all 9 World Faith groups, including Roman Catholic Church and British Humanist Association (BHA as observers).

The CLF Executive meets monthly with quarterly meetings with the wider Chaplaincy Leaders Forum, and the consultation of the revised NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines has been the key priority for discussion and continued engagement.

NHS England Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015

Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care

The latest NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines have been launched. You can download them here.

The Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith & Belief Group warmly welcomes and endorses these new guidelines as the way ahead for healthcare chaplaincy in a multi-faith and belief context in the NHS.

Prepared by: The Revd Dr Chris Swift in consultation with the Chaplaincy Leadership Forum (CLF)* and the National Equality and Health Inequalities Team, NHS England.

The guidelines replace those published in 2003 and provide a comprehensive description of good practice in chaplaincy care for the NHS in England.

  • The document responds to changes in the NHS, society and the widening understanding of spiritual, religious and pastoral care. In the light of the 2010 Equality Act new guidance is provided for the care of patients and service users whatever their religion or belief.
  • The guidelines recognise the development of chaplaincy in a range of specialities including General Practice and in areas such as Paediatrics and Palliative care.
  • Research and innovation are affirmed as important areas for chaplaincy both for improved practice and as a basis for commissioners to understand the benefits of chaplaincy-spiritual care.
  • The Guidance draws on evidence from practice to recommend the resources needed for chaplaincy staffing across a range of contexts in the NHS. Implementation of the guidance will improve support for patients, carers and staff across the health service.
  • The implementation of the guidance will improve support for patients, carers, family members, volunteers, and other people accessing NHS services and staff across the health service.
  • It is anticipated that further documents and good practice guides will be developed in partnership with other agencies to elaborate and contextualise these guidelines.