The Church of England has been urged by senior bishops to make “every effort” to resist “secularist” calls for chaplains to be excluded from the NHS.
The Rt Rev Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol, said hospitals would be “poorer” places without chaplains and patients would be denied comprehensive care if their services were removed.
“Their services are offered not only to patients, but also to their relatives and to other healthcare staff, enhancing greatly the healing environment,” he told the General Synod of the Church of England. “As with much in life, the true value of our chaplains might only be appreciated if they were no longer present. Every effort ought to be made, and is being made, to resist secularist calls for chaplains to be excluded from the NHS.”
Last year, the National Secular Society reported that the NHS spends £29m on chaplains who provide “no clinical benefit”.