Thank you Alan. Typical Carwyn! I love the tone of your response.
Keep up the good – work. You continue to have my full support.
On 31 Jul 2014, at 17:29, Alan Rogers wrote:
Now that the National Assembly is in recess (until October) I thought it time to let you know the current position on the campaign.
We have at last extracted a response directly from the First Minister … or at least signed by him. This is attached. You will need Adobe Reader to view it.
You will see that it repeats the vacuous response “the Welsh Government thinks chaplaincy is important” … “it is best to fund it using NHS Wales budget”.
No attempt is made to explain why it is more important than funding clinical care. No attempt is made to explain “best” for whom and in what way “best”.
My reply is given below. I hope you support this response. If you have any reservations about it please let me know.
Thank you for your letter Ref: FM/00691/14 dated 30th June and forwarded to me by Lesley Griffiths AM via email.
The Welsh Government regards hospital spiritual care services as playing an important role in supporting and counselling patients, relatives and staff.
For these reasons we believe that the best way to ensure patients and staff throughout Wales have the appropriate access to those services is to continue to support them financially though the NHS Wales.
You use the phrase “support them financially”. In fact the arrangement is rather more generous that this phrase might suggest. The hospital chaplaincy service is 100% fully funded from the NHS Wales budget and costs around 1.3 million pounds each and every year.
You claim that this is because the WG “regards hospital spiritual care services as playing an important role…”.
Presumably, therefore, the WG regards the Wales Air Ambulance Service as playing a significantly less important role since it operates only as a result of a continuous Wales-wide charitable fund raising effort. I suggest you check the local press of Wales. You will find that the people of Wales do not share this view. Perhaps you could finance a survey of a random sample of the people of Wales asking:- Which is the more important – the Hospital Chaplancy Service or the Wales Air Ambulance Service? I would also suggest that NHS Wales doctors would, if asked, tell you which of these two services they regard as the more “important”.
The role played by the hospital chaplaincy service is irrelevant to our Proposal because we simply wish to replace its funding by grants from a charitable trust. It would continue “playing an important role” but the money so released could be used to play an even more important role by providing additional nursing, midwifery and/or medical staff.
It is obvious from the above that the real reason for refusing even to consider charitable funding goes beyond a desire to support an important service and it is clear that you and your Ministers have been reluctant to state what that reason is.
We will continue to ask the question “Why is it impossible or unthinkable to fund hospital chaplaincy by means of a charitable trust?
We will eventually get an answer and then we can begin to work towards our goal of saving the NHS Wales over one million pounds per year. Sadly, with every year that passes a further 1.3 million pounds is lost forever.
<Letter from First Minister.pdf>