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Presbyterians Support Chaplaincy Role

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

18 March 2002

MEDIA RELEASE
for immediate issue

Presbyterians Support Chaplaincy Role


“The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand believes that hospital chaplains are integral to a comprehensive public health system that aims to treat the whole person”, says Acting Moderator Very Rev Bruce Hansen.

“To both the Church and health professionals the spiritual and physical sides of health are linked and chaplains perform an essential role in the holistic treatment of patients,” Mr Hansen said.

“Chaplains perform a wide range of tasks that support the health system. These functions span playing a role in forensic reviews of mental health patients to calming and supporting relatives in trauma situations; comforting the dying to discussing ethical issues around medical treatment options,” Mr Hansen continued.

“It is particularly disturbing to the Church that just as chaplains are being widely accepted within the hospital system as playing an important part of the health care team they are being undermined by a government that fails to recognise their essential functions,” Mr Hansen said. Any reduction in the number of chaplains will see a corresponding loss in care for people, particularly the most vulnerable, for whom chaplains take the place of family, sometimes acting as guardians.

“We urge the Government to fund hospital chaplains at levels where they can continue to play their crucial role in our health system, “ Mr Hansen concluded.

The Presbyterian Church has been a partner in the Interchurch Council for Hospital Chaplaincy, (which trains, examines, and employs chaplains), since its inception in 1972. The Church currently has 16 chaplains and many other volunteers serving as chaplaincy assistants (under the supervision of chaplains) in the public health system. Mr Hansen said that he is concerned that this service be maintained and fully supported in order to maintain its excellence of service.


ends


Contacts:

Very Rev Bruce Hansen, Acting Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Home Phone: (03) 354 2207
Mobile: (025) 227 6422

Media Liaison: Richard Davis, Communications Advisor, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Office Phone: (04) 3818285
Email: richadd@pcanz.org.nz

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