Health Services: Ministers of Religion

Health written question – answered on 15th October 2008.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) which departmental authority is responsible for the central funding allocation for hospital and healthcare chaplaincy; what proposals are in place for its use in 2009-10; and when these will be discussed with the nine world faith communities;

(2) what funding allocations have been made from the central allocation for hospital and healthcare chaplaincy for 2008-09; and what (a) bids and (b) requirements were made by the relevant representations of the nine world faith communities at which the allocation is directed.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

Funding for the provision of health care chaplaincy services is built into the financial allocations to primary care trusts, who commission services on behalf of patients.

The Department also holds a central fund of £185,000 to provide grants for the provision of support to chaplains across the nine leading world faith communities. Following an independent review of central funding of hospital chaplaincy in 2005, it was agreed that the nine leading faith groups in England would receive a share of the NHS hospital chaplaincy grant. For 2008-09, the United Synagogue Visitation Committee, The Muslim Council of Britain and the Free Churches Group at Churches Together in England each received £35,000, with the remaining funds distributed among the other six faith groups that bid. This financial year the Department's Equality and Human Rights Group managed the allocation, and more support was given to minority faith groups from the remaining budget to ensure a more equitable distribution of funds to help them provide for the religious and spiritual needs of patients while in hospital.

Chaplaincy grants for the next financial year have yet to be determined. We will be holding a stakeholder event in January 2009 with the main leading faith groups in England to consult on central funding allocations for 2009-10.

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David Pollock
Posted on 16 Oct 2008 10:59 am (Report this annotation)

Of course, not a penny for humanist chaplains / counsellors, and that is a deliberate decision, not an oversight. Yet there are well over 100 full-time C of E chaplains on the NHS's books - a not-often-noticed advantage of being the established church. Surely either the Church should pay for its own clergy or else all lifestances, religious or not, should be treated equally.