The myth of multifaith chaplaincy: a national survey of hospital chaplaincy departments in England and Wales

Aziz Sheikh, A. R. Gatrad, Usman Sheikh, Sukhmeet S. Panesar, Shuja Shafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents the findings of the first national survey of multifaith chaplaincy provision for hospital patients in England and Wales.Of the 100NHS hospital chaplaincy departments approached, 72 agreed to participate in a telephone survey regarding chaplaincy provision for Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. Findings showed that the majority of full- and part-time chaplains were Christians (93.3% and 91.4% respectively). The remaining 6.7% full-time chaplains were Muslims and the remaining 8.6% part-time chaplains comprised very few members of other faith groups. The provision of prayer rooms or places of worship showed a similar bias towards greater provision for Christians. These findings are significant given the increasing diversity of the populations of England and Wales. The legislation on human rights makes clear that all individuals have the right to practice their religion. In the context of hospital care, where individuals are frequently highly dependent on others, fulfilling this right and, more importantly, gaining access to spiritual help in times of serious illness or death, may be problematic for patients of faiths other than Christianity. We end this paper by recommending further research and development into this subject.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiversity in Health and Social Care
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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