The SACH AGM was held on
Wednesday 8 October, 2003
at the Conference Centre,
Stirling Royal Infirmary.
Rev Derek Brown (President)
I was doing some pulpit supply a number of years ago and after the
congregation had left at the end of the evening service the Session
Clerk came up to me and said, “Next time you come do you think you could
make the service a bit longer?” Many of you will know that I have taken
no heed of this criticism- I believe that brevity, as well as cleanliness,
is next to godliness. So I won’t labour any of the following points-
I too have no reverse gear!
This is an exciting and challenging time in Healthcare Chaplaincy and
I’d like to reflect on some of the issues that are currently engaging
us. I’d like to start with those that are of fundamental importance
to the way that we go about our business.
It is very likely that Healthcare Chaplaincy will become a registered
profession under the auspices of the Health Professions Council within
the next 2-3 years. What this means in practice is that anyone wanting
to work as a chaplain in a healthcare setting will have to be on the
register of chaplains kept by the HPC. Most other healthcare professionals,
doctors nurses, physios, have a similar system. Registration will require
individuals to subscribe to a code of conduct; meet the required academic
or professional standards and undergo continuing professional development.
Registration has certain benefits not least the fact that chaplains
would then be statutorily recognised as part of the health care team.
It also raises other issues such as how it would be possible to remain
prophetic as an integral part of the system.
The College is already some way down this road and SACH have had some
input to the process such as in producing the code of conduct and the
professional development diary and also in setting the standards of
competence required by the HPC.
This is something of a hot potato! You are all well aware of the difficulties
that can crop up in getting the information we need to do our job. Part
of the problem lies in the fact that spiritual care is not viewed as
an integral part of patient care. There is also the added complication
that the spiritual care guidelines produced by the Scottish executive
are much broader in their definition of what spiritual care is than
that which pertains south of the border where the legislation was created.
Applied robustly this could set back all that the spiritual care policies
are pointing towards. This is a view shared by the health Department
in Edinburgh where the minister is of a mind to take a pragmatic approach
to this problem. However the law was passed by the UK parliament and
so in order for any review to take place we will have to lobby our MPs.
AGENDA FOR CHANGE
This is the title of the NHS Pay review body and its implementation
will affect everyone who works in the health service. It is due to come
into force a year from now. The main question is whether the Church
of Scotland as the main employer of chaplains in Scotland is going to
implement the policies. (We can ask John Thomson later on what the current
position is) There should also be greater benefits for chaplains working
on a sessional basis, as they will then have the same terms and conditions
as whole time colleagues pro rata.
SPIRITUAL CARE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
This group was envisaged in the guidelines on spiritual care as a body
which represents faith and other relevant communities and relates directly
to the Health Department. There have been two meetings this year and
on both occasions I have represented SACH. It will provide an opportunity
for policy makers and providers to liase with each other and it is through
this committee that we learned of the health minister’s sympathy with
our difficulties over data protection.
SPIRITUAL CARE POLICIES
This is an important time as several Health Boards move into the phase
of implementing the local policies. Notwithstanding any extra sessions,
the exercise has raised awareness among staff about the role and scope
of spiritual care in general and chaplaincy in particular.
I am also pleased to report that over the past year the executive have
had a couple of joint meetings with the Scottish branch of the college.
There have been several issues which affect all chaplains in which we
have a common cause and by pooling our resources can lend weight to
our arguments. Both bodies wrote to 121 expressing concern about the
possible issuing of a staff handbook at the last General Assembly, which
was later withdrawn, and also about the pensions of Church of Scotland
employed chaplains. We also wrote to the Spiritual Care Development
Committee to raise awareness at Health Department level of our concerns
about Data protection.
I find this a heartening development and one that will, I’m sure, bring
only benefits to both organisations. (We need the union element eg A4C,
they need us for a truly Scots dimension)
I’d like to pay tribute to all who make the Journal possible: Editors,
contributors, publishers, printers and distributors. It is a tremendous
asset and it enables us to meet one of the main aims of SACH which is
to promote theological reflection and it also provides support through
sharing best practice.
In March I attended a conference organised by the National Mission Department
of the Church of Scotland called “Chaplaincy Tomorrow”. There was a
mix of all sorts of chaplains represented: university, forces, industrial
and healthcare. I was left thinking how alike we are in our field to
some and how dissimilar in approach to others. I’ll leave you to work
out which is which!
We have also supported the European network of chaplains in which SACH
is represented by Fred Coutts, by making a small donation to their funds.
This sharing of ideas and concerns across cultures will I hope only
be stimulating and fruitful as we look beyond our own wee patch.
There are many challenges ahead in the next year in implementing policies,
dealing with data protection, sorting out terms and conditions of service
and in responding to ever increasing demands on our time. But I’m convinced
that as chaplaincy begins to have a new found confidence in itself and
its role in healthcare that we will continue to provide the best for
those we’re called to serve.
Can I finally thank the members of the executive for their support and
work through the year, especially Monica and Keith who have the main
burden to carry.
As no one has made a time out sign, I guess I haven’t overrun too much
as usual! Thank you.
The following were elected to the committee -
President Derek Brown, Secretary Monica Stewart and Treasurer Keith Saunders were relected.
Hilda Smith (Yorkhill) and
Anne MacDonald (South Sector, Glasgow Primary Care
Held at Stirling Royal Infirmary
on 8 October 2003
Derek Brown welcomed members to the AGM. Worship was
led by David Mitchell.
Jim Allardyce, Derek Brown, Margaret Browning, Margery
Collin, J Stanley Cook, Fred Coutts, Alan Donald, Sue Duncan, Stephen
Dunn, James Falconer, Joanne Finlay, John Fraser, Muriel Knox, Chris Levison,
Anne MacDonald, Stuart Macdonald, Malcolm MacRae, Iain Macritchie, David
Mitchell, Andrew Moore, Anne Mulligan, Gillian Munro, Keith Saunders,
Monica Stewart, John Thomson, Carrie Upton
Tim Battle, Sandra Bell, Murray Chalmers, May Commins,
Ken Coulter, Marian Cowie, Tom Gordon, Judith Hugget, Alison Hutchison,
Margaret Kitson, Edward Lewis, Deirdre Lyon, Ian McDonald, Pat McDonald,
Andrew McMillan, Hilda Smith, Sylvia Spencer, Marjorie Taylor, Iain Telfer,
Ann Watt, Isabel Whyte
The Minutes of the AGM held on 10 October 2002 were approved, proposed
by Stuart Macdonald and seconded by Alan Donald.
Derek Brown reported on the work of the Executive over the past year.
(Copy of report attached).
Keith Saunders presented the accounts (copy attached) for the period 1
July 2002 to 30 June 2003 and spoke to the detail. Income from subscriptions
and from the Journal had increased over the last year. There was also
a significant increase in expenditure for postages. The premium for Professional
Indemnity Insurance had remained the same. The number of members (currently
146) had remained steady. Keith’s work as treasurer had been simplified
by the appointment of Andrew Moore as Membership Secretary. Andrew was
now handling subscription renewals. Andrew and Monica were thanked for
their help with processing new applications and administration of the
database. The Executive had pursued the issue of whether the PII policy
would cover criminal legal charges incurred by a chaplain in the course
of professional duty. It seemed that criminal acts would not be covered
although each case would be looked at on its own merit. One grant from
the Training and Development Fund had been awarded during the past year.
Two applications had been turned down since a decision had been made not
to grant second-time applications. Keith encouraged members to make applications.
The accounts were proposed by John Fraser and seconded by David Mitchell.
Report on the Journal
David Mitchell reported on the Journal. Georgina Nelson and David had
now been joint editors for 5 years and continued to enjoy the work. Working
patterns had evolved over this period. One of example of this was that
work on commissioning material was now being completed one year in advance
of publication. The Editorial Board had been expanded over the years:
a wide range of denominations was now represented on it. The Board met
twice a year. All articles were reviewed initially by one or two members
of the Board. Much of the work involved in sourcing articles was done
by the Board. One method of identifying contributors was to attend conferences.
One particular area of success in the Journal was the book review section.
It was now the main source of reviews for books published by Radcliffe
Medical Press. The credibility of the Journal was now assured, thanks
partly to the SACH website. It was recognized as an important educational
resource. The Board was considering whether to publish the full text of
the Journal on the website. There would be further discussion about this.
Until recently the Journal had been the only publication of its kind in
the UK. However, the College of Healthcare Chaplains had re-launched its
journal recently. The new editor hoped that closer co-operation would
be possible. Professor Steven Wright, editor of Sacred Space, was also
interested in exploring ways of working together. The Journal was now
registered with the British Library and with the National Library of Scotland.
David encouraged members of SACH to think about writing articles or book
reviews, both for our own Journal and for other publications. Although
a considerable amount was being written about spiritual care, very little
of it was written by chaplains. David thanked members for their support.
David wondered whether SACH might consider funding a place for a member
of the Board at a forthcoming conference in Aberdeen. The Executive agreed
James Falconer spoke briefly about promotion and distribution of the Journal.
In the past year subscriptions had increased from 57 to 80. Only 10 of
those were foreign subscriptions and there was an issue about how to promote
the Journal more widely abroad. The Board was still happy to work with
the printers, Rainbow, Dyce. Most of the work involved in distribution
would now be handled by Sheena Pirie, chaplaincy secretary at Aberdeen
Derek thanked David, James and the Editorial Board for their commitment,
enthusiasm and hard work.
Report of the Training and Development Officer
Chris Levison spoke about the work that he and Andrew Moore had been involved
in during the past year and about plans for the future. (see copy of report
Considerable interest had been shown in the SEHD conference, A Seamless
Transition, which would take place on 26 November 2003.
Chris had now completed half a unit of CPE and would encourage us to think
of this course as part of our continual professional development. However,
there were no accredited supervisors as yet.
One possibility for the future of the Unit was that it would become part
of NHS Education.
The chaplaincy website was a great support and an important resource.
Increasingly, it was becoming known abroad.
The Management Group continued to meet quarterly. Until now its role had
been mainly supportive but it was hoped that a more creative role might
The Training and Development Unit had been in existence for 2 years now
and continued to be a stimulating place to work. Chris encouraged us to
make use of the unit.
James Falconer suggested that a letter be sent from the President to Hector
McKenzie expressing how much the work of the unit was appreciated. This
Derek thanked Chris and Andrew for their work and wished them well with
Derek began by thanking Andrew Moore for his work as membership secretary.
He also thanked Isabel Whyte and Jim Allardyce who had completed their
terms as ordinary members of the Executive.
Derek was willing to continue in post. There being no other nominations,
he was duly re-elected.
Monica was willing to continue in post. There being no other nominations,
she was duly re-elected.
Keith had indicated that he wished to stand down. However, in the absence
of any nominations for the post, he agreed to continue in the meantime.
Hilda Smith was proposed by Iain Macritchie and seconded by Carrie Upton.
Anne MacDonald was proposed by Joanne Finlay and seconded by James Falconer.
There being no other nominations, Hilda and Anne were duly elected.
Fred Coutts reported briefly on the European Network of Healthcare Chaplains.
The next consultation would take place in Dublin from 1-5 September 2004.
Fred hoped that SACH would be represented at the event. Chris Levison
had attended the last consultation in Finland and had found it to be very
Afternoon Discussion Session
Derek introduced the afternoon session. Having
considered feedback from last year’s AGM, it had been decided not to
invite an outside speaker to address the meeting. Derek welcomed five
members of SACH who had agreed to form a panel. They were Anne Mulligan,
Gillian Munro, John Thomson, Fred Coutts and Chris Levison. Questions
from the floor were invited and there followed discussion on a range
of topics. These included the European Network of Chaplains in Healthcare;
registration; supervision; direct employment; pay & conditions for
whole-time and part-time chaplains
The following is not a full minute of the discussion
There was a certain amount of confusion around
the issue of registration. It was felt that a more proactive approach
by the Executive was needed. It was important that SACH and CHCC discussed
how SACH might be more involved in the process. SACH might also approach
the Health Professions Council directly to express interest in registration.
David Mitchell asked that the Association of Hospice Chaplains be kept
in touch with any developments. It was suggested that the next edition
of SACH Soundings be used to communicate with members on Registration.
John Thomson spoke briefly about re-organisation of Church of Scotland
departments. There was a proposal to bring together the Board of National
Mission and the Board of Ministry. This would have implications for
the administration of chaplaincy.
The Board of National Mission was having to address recurring budget
deficits. Under new proposals all new chaplaincy appointments would
have to be financed fully by health boards/trusts and existing agreements
would have to be re-negotiated. All healthcare chaplains (part-time
and whole-time) had received letters from the Board outlining these
proposals and encouraging chaplains to respond.
Chris Levison thanked John Thomson for his contributions and acknowledged
his awkward position.
Discrepancies still existed between pay and conditions for part-time
and whole-time chaplains. New European legislation had come into affect
in July 2000 but part-time chaplains continued to be discriminated against.
It was suggested that the Executive might consider holding an extra
meeting before the next AGM to discuss further some of these issues.
The day concluded with tea and coffee.