|I was shocked and angered when I was first made aware of this situation by the Campaign for Charitable Chaplaincy:
(As reported by the BBC- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7988476.stm )
Religious groups should fund their own presence in UK hospitals and save the NHS some £40m per year (well over £1m a year in Wales), the National Secular Society (NSS) suggests.The organisation of non-believers says such money would be better spent on “much needed” nurses or cleaners. The service provided by Macmillan Cancer Care nurses, by the Air Ambulance Service, by the Alzheimer’s Trust are all patently much more worthwhile but they are funded by charity. Their work is not funded by the NHS.
The NSS claims even organ players in hospital chapels are on NHS payrolls.
NHS guidance notes all patients have a right to religious observance and that trusts should provide both faith representatives and places to pray.
However, the Catholic Church in Scotland said it agreed that spiritual carers should not be funded by the NHS.
‘Pressure on services’
The NSS said it contacted 233 acute and mental health trusts which spent a total of £26.72m on chaplains, at an average of £48,953 each.
The society extrapolated these figures for the whole of the UK to produced a national average of £32m per year.
But the NSS said this took into account only the salaries of the chaplains, and excluded national insurance contributions, pension payments, administration costs, office accommodation, training, and the upkeep of chapels and prayer rooms.
NSS president Terry Sanderson told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the £40m figure was equivalent to employing 1,300 nurses or 2,645 cleaners.
“I think if people were given the choice they would choose the latter [nurses or cleaners] because frontline services are under pressure, they are going to be increasingly so as the recession bites, and it’s important that savings are made wherever they can be,” he said.
Alan Rogers, of Charitable Chaplaincy Cymru , contacted me and all WAG candidates in the run up to the WAG elections. I was happy to offer my wholehearted support. As part of this, Alan asked me to set up a Facebook page for them. You can find this here:
Please ‘LIKE’ it and answer the three survey questions – which are the ones asked of the WAG candidates.