was last edited
22 April 2002
Editor of News Sheet
to the Journal online
News Sheet No 8
and Community Care
Stirling Management Centre
15-16 November 2001
Isabel Whyte (Chaplain at the Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline) and a member of the SACH Executive gives her impressions of this very important conference
Statement from Malcolm Chisholm
Top of Page
of News Sheet 8
The event which took place in Stirling may well turn out to be a watershed in the development of spiritual care in the NHS and in the wider community for a number of reasons:
- The breadth of disciplines and professions associated with health and community care represented.
- The participation of representatives from a number of faith communities
- The atmosphere of a sense of purpose and serious intent to integrate spiritual care into health care which was present at all levels
- The further investment by the Scottish Executive in funding a support worker for the training officer's post and the extension of his remit to working with health boards on spiritual care strategies.
- The level of interest shown at all levels in the practicalities of implementing the revised guidelines, particularly in the groups.
- The opportunity for such a wide constituency to hear excellent presentations on the spiritual dimension of care.
Some participants expressed disappointment at the number of NHS Trusts who were not represented by senior management since the event had been specifically aimed at this group. On the other hand, the diversity of participants ensured a very interesting variety of questions and comments to speakers.
In view of his recent appointment as Minister for Health and Community Care, it was particularly fortunate that Mr Malcolm Chisholm MSP was able to be present to give the keynote address.
Some quotations from speakers:
A rapidly increasing number of people are prepared to recognise spiritual experience as part of their lives at the same time that the institutions traditionally associated with the spiritual life are in the process of severe decline":
Dr David Hay
Each Health Board will be required to develop a strategy for spiritual care to ensure that spiritual care and chaplaincy services in each Trust are adequately managed, staffed, regulated and funded.
Mr Malcolm Chisholm.
Health and Community Care
“NHS staff, patients and their families are often confronted with serious or life threatening conditions, injuries and bereavement. Spiritual care can be a great comfort to them in these difficult circumstances.
A skilled, sensitive listener can play an important role in providing support and care to seriously ill patients and their families. They can also provide much-needed bereavement care and counselling.
Under this new guidance, which will be issued to the NHS in January next year (2002), patients will have access to a hospital chaplain, who covers all faiths, and will be able to request a visit from a local religious representative from their own faith. They will also be able to request prayers, sacraments or other religious ministries to be conducted at the bedside, cot side or dayroom.
The way that spiritual care is delivered will also change. Chaplains will continue to visit patients in wards - but we are also asking NHS Boards to provide additional services such as quiet rooms or sanctuaries designed for multi-faith worship, which can be used by patients, relatives and staff.
And we will be expanding the important role already played by the voluntary sector in the provision of spiritual care. Local chaplains will help train and develop the skills of local volunteers from a range of organisations to enable them to provide spiritual care services across all faiths or on a secular basis.
To take this forward I am pleased to announce today the appointment of Mr Chris Levison as Scotland's first National Healthcare Chaplaincy Training and Development Officer, who will also act as the first National spiritual care co-ordinator for Scotland. Over the coming months, he will lead a small team who will work with NHS Boards to help them address the spiritual care needs of their patients and to create local plans for the development of spiritual care services in their area.
I am confident that this new guidance and the appointment of Chris Levison, will make an important contribution to improving and maintaining the quality of spiritual care available to NHS patients."
Health and Community Care
16 November 2001