President’s Letter, October 2023

Dear Friends,

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:

  1. We warmly welcome the ambition, set out within the guidelines, for an inclusive chaplaincy service in all healthcare settings
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Having been involved in their formation we are also pleased to see that the guidelines recommend adherence to the UKBHC values
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. We also welcome and recognise the Scottish Spiritual Care Strategic Framework, which was launched in June 2023

May you go well, and may you go gently, until we meet again,


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