By National Secular Society
Secularists have criticised new draft NHS England chaplaincy guidelines for failing to adequately recognise the needs of patients who do not identify with a religious faith.
NHS England is consulting on new chaplaincy guidelines intended to update and improve the provision of chaplaincy and spiritual care across the NHS. The guidance includes an explicit recognition of the need to provide guidance “for the care of patients and service users who do not identify with a religious faith”.
However, in a joint submission to an NHS England consultation, the National Secular Society and the Secular Medical Forum criticised the guidelines for being too focussed on religious care rather than providing an inclusive service that benefits all patients and NHS staff.
Chaplaincy services are funded from NHS budgets. Despite purporting to provide ‘spiritual care’ to all, the role is only open to individuals who can obtain satisfactory recommendation and authorisation by their faith community.
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