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Chaplaincy service deserves increased support

March 7, 2002

Chaplaincy service deserves increased government support

The work of hospital chaplains is an integral part of our hospital system, benefiting patients, their relatives and hospital staff, and should be supported by Government, says the Nurses’ Organisation.

The Inter-Church Council for Hospital Chaplaincy has asked the Government to increase its share of the cost of the $4-million-a-year service from one third to half, but Health Minister Annette King has said the service is not a priority for the Government. Currently hospitals and churches have been supporting the service by around two-thirds of the actual costs, but this is no longer sustainable.

President of the Nurses’ Organisation Jane O’Malley said the present level of Government funding was minimal compared to the amount of gains realised. “Nurses witness first hand the support hospital chaplains provide for relatives and families during times of crisis and stress. Nurses also experience that support personally, and in times of short-staffing and increasingly acute patient need, that support is greatly appreciated and often essential. Chaplains offer an independent ear, listening to staff concerns, and offering emotional as well spiritual comfort. They are a well-respected part of the healing environment, advocating on behalf of patients, their families and the nurses and other staff who care for them.

“Hospitals are required to show they are meeting the spiritual needs of patients and staff, so it seems incredibly short-sighted to deny this efficient, low cost but highly effective service the funds it needs to survive.”

For further comment, contact Jane O’Malley on 025-937-159.

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