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    Health Care Chaplaincy in the United Kingdom

Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains

Membership , currently of about 135, represented at the London Consultation by:
        Rev Steve Barnes, President,
        Rabbi Markus Lange, Exec member

What follows is a summary of the issues which the Executive of the AHPCC has in its current workload.

1. Support of members; our priority is the mutual support of one another through regional meetings, the website or conferences, from professional or institutional issues, through personal matters to practical solutions to every-day questions.
2. Communication : This summer we have remodeled our website,  and initiated a regular mailing to the membership in place of a newsletter. We hope the site becomes a much more responsive mode of communication, support and resource-sharing.
3. The AHPCC annual conference : Preparations are under way for next year’s conference on the 16 – 18 May at Swanwick, Derbyshire.
4. Networking : The AHPCC seeks to work closely and collaboratively with the several other bodies concerned with healthcare chaplaincy in the UK. Together we aim to establish chaplaincy as a nationally recognised professional healthcare discipline,

The main-office bearers can be contacted via the links on the website, and, for further information on the matters outlined above, you can make contact with the President at

Rev Steve Barnes
President of AHPCC

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes has been chaplain of Willen Hospice for 11 years, preceded by a brief career in civil engineering then parish ministry in East London and Crawley in Sussex.
He shares his home with his wife, Pauline anda little black cat called Charlie (the dog in the photo was borrowed). Steves writes, "We cycle rather than drive where we can, help run the local farmers’ market tea tent, tend an allotment, and belong to environment and interfaith groups.

In the field of palliative care I am in awe of the skill and expertise of many but I am told I do a good funeral! I appreciate the support and friendship of colleagues in the AHPCC and look forward to meeting yet more chaplains from all around Europe."


[September 2010]

Rabbi Markus A Lange

Markus Lange

Since March 2010, I have been the Resident Chaplain at the Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead (London). I love all aspects of my work, providing pastoral presence to patients, their families and friends as well as all members of staff, building relationships and maintaining contacts with a wide range of faith leaders and communities in order to provide Spiritual and Religious Care that fully honours the wishes of the individual while making the wisdom and insights of many traditions accessible to all.
Born and raised in Germany, I studied theology, philosophy and languages at universities in Bochum, Prague, Berlin and received my rabbinical training from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and the Leo Baeck College in London. I also hold an MA in Jewish Studies from King’s College London.
I started my chaplaincy training (CPE) while studying for the rabbinate in New York, and appreciate everything I've learned from my teachers, mentors and colleagues at the HealthCare Chaplaincy where a truly interfaith and cross-denominational spirit drives the holistic approach to heath care. I'm also deeply grateful for my experiences and learning opportunities which my placements with the National Center for Jewish Healing provided.
Throughout my rabbinical training, I engaged in a number of interfaith programs. I was the coordinator of the Inter-Seminary Dialogue of New York City. I also worked in interfaith and educational outreach for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and currently develop and manage a number of projects for the Council of Christians and Jewish, while also doing consultancy for the Three Faith Forum and St.Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
I love a wide range of music and in particular classical and Latin-American guitar music as well as Bach and Schubert. Whenever I find the time, I play the guitar, the trumpet or the tin-whistle. I enjoy travelling, nature walks by the sea and in the mountains, gardens and parks, and cooking

[August 2010]


The College of Health Care Chaplains

With approximately 1,000 members the College of Health Care Chaplains is the largest body of choice for chaplains working in the United Kingdom.  A part of the amicus union, the College is able to access high quality support from experienced advisers about all aspects of the chaplains’ employment in the UK’s national health service.  The College also provides opportunities for members to meet locally and discuss a wide range of concerns relating to chaplaincy in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.  The College produces many reports and recommendations for chaplains, including a Code of Conduct, and works closely with the Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare and the National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains.

For the College chaplaincy is about maintaining the special nature of spiritual care within a framework of professional practice recognised by other health workers.  We see chaplains as part of the team caring for patients, their visitors and also the health care staff. 


Rev Mark Burleigh

mark burleigh

Mark first worked as a computer programmer, before training for ministry and being ordained in 1986.  He served in two local church ministries and university chaplaincy before becoming a full time hospital chaplain.  He has been a healthcare chaplain in Leicester's hospitals since 1994, working there full-time since 1999.  He now leads the team of chaplains from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths.  There are also volunteer team members of those faiths as well as the Baha'i, Buddhist, Jewish faiths and Humanist outlook.  He has been active in the life of the CHCC since 2002, serving on local and national committees.  He also manages the hospitals' bereavement service.

[May 2012] 


Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain

Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas is a representative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate). He is a member of the Committee of the World Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Pastoral Health Care and he serves as the Orthodox Chaplain of the Nortwick Park Hospital in Harrow (NW London).

Presently Fr. Salapatas is a priest (protopresbyter) and Principal of the Hellenic College at St. Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Community in NW London. He has studied Theology at the University of Athens, Medieval History at the University of London and studied on post-graduate level at the University of Wales.

He has published many books and articles on the History of the Greeks in Diaspora, as well as other historical themes. Recently he published two collections of poetry.

[August 2010]


Health Care Chaplaincy in England and Wales

Health care Chaplaincy in England and Wales continues to meet the needs of patients in a variety of health care settings, from large acute NHS trusts to small general practice groups.
Since the last European network consultation in Estonia there have been a continuous stream of changes in terms of NHS structures and the on going cash flow problems. The new Government White Paper is set to bring yet more changes.
The Church of England continues to be at the fore front of Hospital Chaplaincy and is reviewing how it can best support both Chaplains and Chaplaincy. (
The Roman Catholic Church, through their Health Care Reference Group, has been seeking to support not only chaplains but also all who work in the NHS. On going research and the development of the ‘Care of the Catholic Patient’ have served to strengthen the care given to members of the Roman Catholic Church in times of sickness and hospitalisation. ( )
The Free Churches Group works with 24 Free Church Denominations to provide realistic and appropriate chaplaincy services in all areas of health care. A significant development has been the introduction of a new robust and transparent authorization process for chaplains from the Free Churches denominations. This process has been accepted by the Directors of Churches Together in England and it is hoped that it will give appropriate access to those from Christian denominations who are not in the Free Churches Group, from the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. This work will be continued through the Churches Committee for Health care Chaplaincy
The Multi Faith Group ( is following up work on the authorization and regulation in Health Care Chaplaincy. It hopes to publish in autumn 2010 the authorization processes for each particular faith group. This will give the NHS confidence in the appointment of Faith Chaplains to care for the specific religious needs of patients.
There continues to be a variety of courses for chaplains, before for those starting on their journey and those more established. The Center for Chaplaincy Studies in Cardiff offers both the Introductory Course for Chaplains  (both General and Mental Health) and an Masters programme in Chaplaincy studies that is shared with other chaplaincy disciplines. A foundation degree in health care chaplaincy run at St Mary’s University College Twickenham, along with opportunities to progress to undergraduate and masters programmes.
Rev Debbie Hodge

[September 2010]


Multifaith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy (MFGHC)

MFGHC includes representatives of the nine World Faiths:
Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian Faiths.

The object of the MFGHC is the advancement of multifaith healthcare chaplaincy in England and Wales. The Group seeks to further this object by facilitating a common understanding and support for healthcare chaplaincy amongst Faith Groups, chaplaincy bodies and users; providing a means of consultation between the Faiths about healthcare chaplaincy; and working in co-operation with healthcare and chaplaincy organisations, bodies and authorities.
In particular, the MFGHC seeks to provide advice to the Department of Health about multi-faith healthcare chaplaincy on behalf of all Faith Groups; to enable those Faith Groups engaged in healthcare chaplaincy to formulate, agree and promulgate policy on healthcare chaplaincy in consultation with other chaplaincy bodies; and to promote the highest quality of healthcare chaplaincy through the development of agreed standards across all Faith Groups and within healthcare organisations.


[May 2008]

Revd Debbie Hodge

Revd Debbie Hodge is Free Church Secretary for Health Care Chaplaincy. Ordained as a minister in the United Reformed Church in 2000, Mrs Hodge has served at Leaside Methodist/ United Reformed Church in Ware and in a variety of Chaplaincy post in higher education and health care settings.
Debbie has a background in the National Health Service. She trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London and has worked as nurse, nursing tutor and as Principal Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Hertfordshire. She maintains her nursing links as a member of the National Steering Group for Parish Nursing as a lecturer.
She lectures at St Michaels College Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies. She has just had published a research project on Family Witnessed Resuscitation and her current studies include the development of a 'Model of Spiritual care'. Based at Churches Together in England she is the Secretary of Churches Together for Healing and Executive Officer for Churches Together in England.

[September 2010]


Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains Association

The Revd Jennifer McWhirter is Secretary of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association, a role she assumed in March 2007. She is an Anglican Priest and Vicar of the United Parishes of Templepatrick and Donegore. Her background is in chaplaincy, first in America as a CPE resident and then in Belfast, and she works as part-time chaplain in Musgrave Park Hospital.

Fr Gerard Fox is currently President of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains’ Association (2011-2013). He is a Catholic Priest and Full Time Chaplain in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, based at Belfast City Hospital. Ordained in 2001, Gerard worked as curate in a Belfast parish before taking up ministry in healthcare. He is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the Pontifical University, Maynooth.

The Rev Derek Johnston is in his 23rd year as a Methodist Minister. He has been a hospital chaplain for 13 years in the Royal Hospitals, Belfast. For the past 8 years he has served as a full time chaplain. In 2008 he became Belfast Trust Lead Chaplain. Derek is also Director of Training of the NI Healthcare Chaplains' Association (NIHCA) and Convenor of the Methodist Church in Ireland Prison & Healthcare Chaplaincy Committee.

Chaplaincy in Northern Ireland is denominationally based. Chaplains work mostly on a part time basis, although the number of full time chaplains has increased in recent years. Chaplains are both funded by the hospital trusts and by their own denominations. The NIHCA exists to offer further training to chaplains, to improve their knowledge base in the area of chaplaincy, and to offer support and fellowship. Training days are run three times a year, two 2-day training events and one 1-day training event. The Association is run by an Executive Council made up of 13 elected members representing the four main Christian denominations in Northern Ireland - Church of Ireland, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic.

[November 2012]


Healthcare Chaplaincy in Scotland

At present in Scotland there are around 350 part time and just over 60 whole time chaplains employed by the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. The majority of chaplains are appointed to look after the whole healthcare community where they are working. This includes patients, their carers and staff. They come from a variety of backgrounds and are expected to work across all denominations, and with those of different faiths and no faith. They are expected to provide spiritual care for all and to facilitate the religious care of those who require the administrations of someone from a specific faith community or belief group. If the chaplaincy team is not equipped to provide specific religious care they will do all they can to make appropriate arrangements.

The most significant change in recent times was a directive, a “Health Departmental Letter”, which went to all chief executives, containing guidance about spiritual care and chaplaincy. Since then they have developed Spiritual Care Committees in most Boards which are forums for staff, chaplains and local faith and belief groups to share and discuss the development of the spiritual care service and be aware of the needs of different groups. Because of the broad understanding of spiritual care the Scottish Humanist Society is often represented alongside the different faith communities.

This government guidance on spiritual care was updated in 2008. The new guidance further explains the role of the health service in spiritual and religious care and will be a guide to the future development of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Reference is made to the growing evidence base which supports the value of this type of care, issues surrounding the appointment and employment of chaplains are examined, difficulties such as Data Protection are aired, recent developments are noted and ways forward are recommended.   This documents makes reference to and values the work of ENHCC, including the standards agreed at the consultation in Turku in 2002.

New ways of doing chaplaincy are developing, moving from a crisis based one to one care model in institutions, to developing well being and resilience in community settings, working with other healthcare professionals, voluntary agencies and faith or  belief groups.  This is in line with Scottish Government policy and is vital in showing chaplaincy and spiritual care is value to money by saving on medical and pharmaceutical intervention and hospitalisation.  It also enhances community and individual wellbeing.  The Scottish Government has financed pilot community listening services manned by chaplains and volunteers selected, training and supervised by managers.

The Department of Health and Wellbeing within the devolved Scottish Government supports the development of chaplaincy and spiritual care through the work of Ewan Kelly, the Development Officer.  He is part of NHS Education for Scotland (NES), a Board which deals with the training and education of all healthcare staff. Chaplains are in many ways regarded as a health profession although they do not yet have that official registered status. Through NES we have been able to produce a “Multi Faith Resource for Healthcare Staff”, “Standards for NHS Scotland Chaplaincy Services”, and, “Spiritual and Religious Care Capabilities and Competences for Healthcare Chaplains”, a framework of competences, knowledge and awareness needed by chaplains, which is being used to develop education, principally a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Care Chaplaincy. The first group of students completed this course in the Spring of 2010.

There is still a huge need for staff to be better educated as to the full meaning of spiritual care. As the health service is being reminded of the need to be “patient focused”, so we hope the needs of individuals as whole people, hence their spiritual needs, are being better recognized.  To help in this area a much appreciated booklet has been published, call “Spiritual Care Matters.”   This is now widely used throughout the NHS in Scotland to encourage and promote the delivery of spiritual care.

The Development Officer is now encouraging chaplains to participate in reflective practice and to take part in action research.  Recently an audit of the activity of chaplains has been published and is being used to promote the work of spiritual care teams, as is the report on examples of spiritual care provision mapped against the Quality Dimensions of the NHS Scotland Quality Strategy:.  (The dimensions are that care should be: safe, effective, person centered, timely, efficient and equable.)
(The documents referred to here can be found on the NES website:
There is now close involvement with the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy  ( as the profession moves towards registration and regularion with colleagues across the United Kingdom
The work of the chaplaincy associations to move towards a more professional understanding of chaplaincy is welcome and also very complicated. They are committed to working towards acceptance of chaplaincy as a registered health care profession, although this is still several years away. They are

These associations are working closely with the Chaplaincy Development Officer and with colleagues elsewhere in the United Kingdom to develop the work and understanding of chaplaincy.

Chaplaincy in Scotland is not without its difficulties, however we feel it has a higher profile than before and we are committed to continuing to promote the work though the example, study, research, and development by all who are involved in spiritual care.

[September 2010]


Rev Dr Ewan Kelly
Programme Director for Healthcare Chaplaincy, NHS Education for Scotland

Ewan Kelly took up the post of Programme Director in 2009 after the retrial of Chris Levison who has participated in the Network since the Turku consultation in 2002.  Ewan had been a chaplain at St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh but has had a wide ranging career which gives him an almost unique preparation for the Programme Director's post.  He trained first as a doctor, then as a minister of the Church of Scotland. He became a hospital chaplain in 1995 at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, moving 3 years later to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. From there his commitment to research and teaching were recognised when he was appointed as a lecturer in Practical Theology at New College in Edinburgh.
Ewan's PhD, which he completed while working as a hospital chaplain and latterly as a lecturer, is entitled: “The role of ritual co-constructed by parents and a chaplain following the death of a baby in-utero ”.  
Ewan is now developing the work, acting as a champion for the ongoing development of the provision of spiritual care, especially chaplaincy, within the NHS in Scotland.


[September 2010]



SACH (Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare)

The Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare has 134 members and exists to assist healthcare chaplains to provide effective spiritual, religious and pastoral care within the contemporary healthcare setting.
The aim is to represent chaplains and to set and maintain high standards of care, provide support, advice and fellowship.
SACH sponsors the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy which has a growing international reputation focussing on the practice of chaplaincy from different perspectives.

Rev Paul Graham

Paul Graham

Paul Graham currently works as Healthcare Chaplain in Inverclyde Royal Hospital on the west coast of Scotland. He is responsible for providing chaplaincy and spiritual care services to the patients, carers and staff in the hospital and in two local Mental Health units. His first role in spiritual care was in a Hospice within the Health Board area.
Before making the career move into chaplaincy, Paul worked for 25 years as an IT Business Manager in both public and private sector organisations.
He is undertaking the Masters programme on Healthcare Chaplaincy at Glasgow University, is involved in implementing the new national Values-based Reflective Practice model (Paterson & Kelly, 2012) and is piloting a mindfulness-based programme to provide staff support in the hospital.
Paul is President of the Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare and serves on the UK Board for Healthcare Chaplaincy.

[November 2012]