An Update from the Hospital Ministry Team October 2020

Since taking on the role of manager early 2019 it may appear to the wider community and PF volunteers that little has happened within the hospitals team.

Having started with very little due to the strains of not having a manager to dedicate space and time to the role for some time prior to my appointment, I have worked at getting a sound application and endorsement process and training in place.

This process proved to be really important when approaching the Network for Pastoral Care, Spirituality and Religions in Health Care – which is the interfaith network representing NHS Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care (Chaplaincy) – they required the PF Hospital Manager – myself – to provide a specific detailed recruitment and endorsement process and how we the PF care for our hospitals visiting team, such as reflective supervision and train them.

By having this process already in place and being used I was able to meet all the requirements upon putting out application in to become part of their Network.  I am incredibly happy to say they have now accepted us around their table, with myself and Sarah as President to represent the Pagan Community within Hospitals.

As with all things the work that they do and we have now joined is ongoing evolution of the system within the NHS, and the Network are specifically looking at ensuring that all hospitals over time represent All belief systems including ours, this of course will rely a great deal on volunteers, but also ensuring that the limited staff chaplaincy are from varying backgrounds rather than as in the past it has been largely represented by Christians from various denominations.  This will only help to strengthen our requests to hospitals to admit our visitors or at the very least encourage the Chaplaincy departments to offer Pagan Patients the option of seeing or having communication with someone of their own beliefs. 

I have also been building a relationship and communication with the Network for Spirituality in Mental Health Forum – who work separately and slightly differently to the NPSRHC who are predominantly General hospital based whereas the NSMHF work in Mental Health – and with the Spiritual Crisis Network.  These pieces of work are ongoing, and I hope that like the NPSRHC the NSMHF and SCN will accept the PF Hospital Team as an advisory, educational, and supportive organisation representing the beliefs and needs of our Pagan community further.

My active work of communication with Lead Chaplaincy people and education of the need for choice to see someone of the patients own belief system whether Pagan or otherwise has sadly been hampered by the COVID situation with All volunteers being locked out of all General Hospitals and only just starting to be readmitted to Mental Health Hospitals (though some are now going back into lockdown), causing staff chaplains to feel overwhelmed.  But I continue to remind and advise them of our ability to support via other means such as telephone and virtual online means where available.  This acceptance that we can help and support them and therefore reducing their feelings of being overwhelmed will only be encouraged and supported more so by our successful acceptance into the NPSRHC and the work they have ongoing, and the growing proof of our professionalism and willingness to learn from them and share our knowledge.

I have also just completed the basic training of another 5 sparkling new team members, so the team is ever growing though many more are still required.

So I ask you if you are interested in this area of volunteering and never enquired please do contact me through our contact form here

You will need to have time to dedicate to this work with at least 2 visits a month (when we are allowed) to the hospital and time to attend supervision, a monthly moot and training, but you will also receive ongoing support and training from me.

As you will see on our Hospital Team page there are specific hospital adverts for hospitals that have requested visitors from me, but we also have hundreds of other hospitals to cover all over the country.  So, if you don’t see an advert for that hospital in your area and would like to volunteer please do drop me a email to see if it is vacant.

Please note:

To work in General Hospital you don’t need any previous experience of visiting patients as training will be given, just a sound knowledge of your Pagan path and willingness to learn about others and an ability to know and understand/learn boundaries.

To work within Mental Health Hospital, you Must have experience of working with Mental Illness in some way as well as the above requirements as per General Hospital.

There is an advert for my post as Hospitals Manager, you will need to have Supervision and Training qualifications as well as inner working knowledge of working within the NHS and be able to dedicate time to visiting hospitals as well.

I will when a new Manager is appointed be stepping down to Deputy Manager/Secretary for hospitals team as I am taking on another role within the PF, so will be only too happy to support and continue whatever work I am presently doing and/or hand over to that person and take on what they request. 

Another Deputy Manager is also being sort after who will also be required to have that supervision/training qualification and NHS working knowledge and be able to dedicate time to visiting hospitals themselves.

For full details please see the General and Mental Health adverts and job descriptions found on this link to the PF Community Support Website

I hope that this update gives you an overview of what I have been up to and where we are in terms of the Hospitals Team.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any queries or questions or pass on enquiries from your community to me.

Diane Yates
Hospital Ministry Manager
Contact me