President’s Letter October 2023
Following a recent meeting of our Exec committee and the publication of new Chaplaincy guidelines we have written the following statement which we hope our members will find helpful:
The AHPCC Exec welcomes the publication of the new Chaplaincy Guidelines from NHS England, which replace those previously published in 2015, and wishes to recommend them to all those responsible for providing chaplaincy services in all healthcare settings. The guidance was developed with the input of people from a wide range of faith and belief groups and backgrounds, and we would like to thank all those involved for their time and effort.
As representatives of a network of Chaplains who work specifically in specialist palliative care settings we would like to draw attention to the following points:
- We warmly welcome the ambition, set out within the guidelines, for an inclusive chaplaincy service in all healthcare settings
- The term ‘chaplaincy’ is used in the guidelines to refer to the pastoral, spiritual and/or religious care and support that the NHS is expected to offer to all its users. So, while the term ‘Chaplain’ and ‘Chaplaincy’ have been adopted in these guidelines, teams delivering such care should use the terminology that they feel will best be understood in their local contexts, provided that consideration is given to inclusivity and equality e.g. Humanist Chaplain
- We are pleased to see the emphasis the guidelines place on training, support and supervision for chaplains and that the importance of high quality appointments is also recognised
- Having been involved in their formation we are also pleased to see that the guidelines recommend adherence to the UKBHC values
- We endorse the expectation within the guidelines for employers to seek the endorsement of a respective religion or belief community before the appointment of a chaplain and we support reference in the guidelines to the use of professional appointment advisors to assist with the recruitment process
- We support the view, set out in the guidelines, that Honorary Chaplains and Chaplaincy Volunteers should not replace the role of a paid chaplain in a chaplaincy service but extend the core provision already in place
- We also welcome and recognise the Scottish Spiritual Care Strategic Framework, which was launched in June 2023
Save the Date!
We’re excited to announce that we are well under way with plans for our next conference
‘WHEN THE DRUGS DON’T WORK – Spiritual Distress: what is it, what’s our experience of it and how do we prevent, accompany or alleviate it?’
Dates: Monday 20th – Wednesday 22nd May 2024
More details to follow…
Five Points from the Chaplaincy Forum
The Chaplaincy Forum met on the 12th October and the following is shared as a summary of our discussions:
- Ron Finlay, from Ron Finlay Communications who were the organisation commissioned by NHS England to write the new Guidelines, attended the Forum meeting and fed back his reflections on chaplaincy from the process of writing the Guidelines. Among other things Ron noted the professional development that has taken place and encouraged this to continue. Forum members thanked Ron for the work on the Guidelines and noted that they had been broadly welcomed by all the organisations.
- The Forum discussed the dissemination of the Guidelines. NHS England has publicised them through various internal newsletters. The UKBHC will shortly be writing to all chief executives to highlight them. Forum members were encouraged to circulate them through existing networks. NHS England is very happy to work with organisations in relation to this.
- The UKHBC reported on work developing updated Person Specification templates. These are in the final stages of being produced and should be uploaded to the website by the end of November.
- The Network reported on its work monitoring job adverts. They are in the process of producing a retrospective report. This will provide a helpful baseline to judge the impact of the new Guidelines on recruitment. Forum members welcomed the work by Network around this.
- The CHCC updated the Forum on it Workforce planning, Diversity and Inclusion Report. It plans to send a copy to CHCC members in the New Year. It will then look to pick up work on on-call guidance.
‘Thought for the day’ from Tom Gordon
Tom Gordon was the president of the AHPCC for some years, and has published several books since retiring. He has also continued to produce a daily thought every day since March 2020.
You can find Tom’s thought for today, and for previous days, here
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In your prayers today please remember the patients, staff and volunteers of all the hospices in Denmark and Finland