NHS Chaplaincy Programme

The NHS Chaplaincy Programme and budget is project managed by the Free Churches Group on behalf of NHS England and assurance monitored through a Grant based Service Level Agreement.

From 1 April 2015, the NHS Chaplaincy programme was hosted by the Nursing Directorate.

The Department of Health and NHS England have never been involved in commissioning chaplaincy services locally, as this has always been determined locally.

What the NHS Chaplaincy programme aims to achieve for improved patient care

The NHS Chaplaincy programme is part of NHS England’s drive to ensure good patient care and compliance with policy and legislation:

  • Compliance with the legal duties in the Equality Act 2010 – ensuring due regard to the protected characteristics on religion and belief
  • Compliance with the NHS Constitution Principle 1 of ensuring comprehensive service for all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, religion, belief.
  • Compliance with NHS England’s business planning for 2013 – 14 ‘Putting people first’ Priority 8 in Promoting equality and reducing inequalities in health outcomes and the Five Year Forward View on Empowering Patients and Engaging Communities.

In September 2013, the Chaplaincy Leaders Forum (CLF) was developed as an effective mechanism for dialogue between NHS England, and the wider chaplaincy associations listed below:

  • College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC)
  • Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (AHPCC)
  • UK Board of Healthcare Chaplains (UKBHC)
  • Health Care Chaplaincy Appointment Advisers
  • Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group (HCFBG) which includes all 9 World Faith groups, including Roman Catholic Church and British Humanist Association (BHA as observers).

The CLF Executive meets monthly with quarterly meetings with the wider Chaplaincy Leaders Forum, and the consultation of the revised NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines has been the key priority for discussion and continued engagement.

NHS England – NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015: Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care

Prepared by: The Revd Dr Chris Swift in consultation with the Chaplaincy Leadership Forum (CLF)* and the National Equality and Health Inequalities Team, NHS England.

The guidelines replace those published in 2003 and provide a comprehensive description of good practice in chaplaincy care for the NHS in England.

  • The document responds to changes in the NHS, society and the widening understanding of spiritual, religious and pastoral care. In the light of the 2010 Equality Act new guidance is provided for the care of patients and service users whatever their religion or belief.
  • The guidelines recognise the development of chaplaincy in a range of specialities including General Practice and in areas such as Paediatrics and Palliative care.
  • Research and innovation are affirmed as important areas for chaplaincy both for improved practice and as a basis for commissioners to understand the benefits of chaplaincy-spiritual care.
  • The Guidance draws on evidence from practice to recommend the resources needed for chaplaincy staffing across a range of contexts in the NHS. Implementation of the guidance will improve support for patients, carers and staff across the health service.
  • The implementation of the guidance will improve support for patients, carers, family members, volunteers, and other people accessing NHS services and staff across the health service.
  • It is anticipated that further documents and good practice guides will be developed in partnership with other agencies to elaborate and contextualise these guidelines.

View and download a copy of: NHS England – NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015: Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care

NHS England Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015: Equality Analysis: Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care

Prepared by: Scott Durairaj on behalf and in partnership with the National Equality and Health Inequality Team, NHS England.

The Equality Analysis of the NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines ensures compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty; ensuring due regard to advancing equality for people on the basis of certain protected characteristics, including religion or belief. The document responds to changes in the NHS, society and the widening understanding of pastoral, spiritual, and religious and care.

Key endorsements of the Guidelines:

“At its best, our National Health Service is there when we need it, at the most profound moments in our lives. At the birth of our children, at the deaths of our loved ones. And at every stage in between – as we grapple with hope, fear, loneliness, compassion – some of the most fundamental elements of the human spirit.” Simon Stevens,  Chief Executive, NHS England,  March 2015.

“Local NHS trusts are responsible for determining, delivering and funding religious and spiritual care in a way that meets the needs of their patients, carers and staff.” Norman Lamb, MP, Minister of State for Care Services, Department of Health, Commons Written Answers 17 December 2013.

View and download a copy of: NHS England Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015: Equality Analysis: Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care