The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
3. What steps the Church Commissioners are taking to support hospital chaplaincy. (27048)
Last month the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed the Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Rev. James Newcome, as the lead bishop for health care, including the support of hospital chaplains. The Church of England works extensively with workplace chaplains, especially in hospitals, and is keen wherever possible to develop interfaith chaplaincy co-operation. We believe that chaplains of all faiths play a vital role in the support of patients, families and staff in hospitals.
How is the Church of England responding to hospital trusts that have decided either not to replace chaplains who have left or to cut back on their chaplaincy?
Chaplaincy services are central to meeting the spiritual needs of patients, families and staff, and I am glad to note that the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the noble Earl Howe, has recently stressed to hospital trusts the importance of chaplaincy services. We will continue to reinforce that message at every level, because we are all too keenly aware of the importance of chaplaincy services to those who are sick, the dying, their families and the bereaved.