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HAVE YOUR SAY: Faith in healing

23 April 2009 One Comment

So the National Secular Society is advocating the end of chaplaincy services in hospitals. Terry Sanderson, its president, argues that “most of us go to hospital for medical treatment not for church services”. The society – using the Freedom of Information Act – has learnt chaplaincy activities cost NHS trusts £32 million and believes it would be better spent to employ 1,300 extra nurses or 2,500 cleaning staff. Mr Sanderson wants a patient’s individual vicar or priest to provide spiritual succour. Has he thought of distances between hospitals and homes? And what about those who do not belong to a local faith community?

Spiritual care is an intrinsic and holistic part of a patient’s recovery. Personal experience has taught me how comforting it was for my wife when in hospital to know that a chaplain was just corridors away and could drop by to chat and pray even at late evenings and night. The society also fails to comprehend that chaplains offer spiritual comfort to nursing staff through religious services, counselling and hospital choirs. Nursing staff in many hospitals now come from the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka and significant numbers are committed Christians. Scientists too are starting to realise that spiritual support and prayers help to defeat illness by energising natural killer cells; research into this phenomenon is being undertaken. How sad that Christian foundations and faith are again under attack – Matt.

What do you think?

One Comment »

  • Peter Sebbage said:

    Dear Mr Sanderson,
    It’s an odd thing that when all is well with our lives we think that there is little call for a loving God. People in hospital can find themselves asking questions that only a chaplain can answer, and who can bring the suffering to know of a caring, healing divinity. The solace given can be, and often is, part of the road to recovery and more importantly long term healing.
    The hospital chapel offers people of all faiths a place of quiet and peace that alas atheists THINK they have no need.