Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy

Guidance on Spiritual Care inthe NHS in Scotland

9. Spiritual Care Development Committee

The setting up of Spiritual Care Committees in Boards enabled them to cater for local needs. It was also envisaged that some issues and discussions would best take place on a national basis and for that reason a national multi faith/belief group was brought together. The Spiritual Care Development Committee ( SCDC) was first constituted on 12 th June 2003 with the objective of, "the development of spiritual care in both understanding and practice in the NHSScotland". The SCDC undertook to further this by facilitating a common understanding of and support for spiritual care among faith/belief groups, chaplaincy bodies, patients, carers and staff. It is a means of consultation and co-operation between all such groups.

The Committee seeks:

  • To provide advice to the Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Directorate and NHS Boards about spiritual/religious care on behalf of all faith/belief groups, chaplains, patients, carers and staff with particular reference to the Guidelines on Spiritual care in NHSScotland HDL (2002) 76.
  • To enable liaison between faith groups, chaplaincy groups, carers, staff and other health care groups in the discussion and formation of spiritual care.
  • To help nurture the national debate and share good practice.
  • To promote the highest quality of spiritual care with reference to nationally agreed standards.
  • To promote adequate education and training for specialist spiritual caregivers to enable them to meet these performance standards and develop a programme for continued professional development. This is done by supporting the work of the Health Care Chaplaincy Training and Development Group.
  • To assist both health care organisations and faith/belief communities in the appointment of appropriately qualified and authorised chaplains.
  • To assist in the formation of working groups assigned to undertake specific tasks

The membership of the SCDC includes representatives of:

  • World faith groups - Baha'i, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh;
  • Employers of chaplains/spiritual care givers: The Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church, Scottish Episcopal Church and Health Boards;
  • The Scottish Churches Committee on Health Care Chaplaincy;
  • The Scottish Inter Faith Council;
  • The Humanist Society of Scotland;
  • The Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Health Board Management, Health Care Staff, Health Councils and patient groups;
  • Chaplaincy Organisations.

The work of the committee to date has been in line with these objectives and it has been a place for the sharing of information, the examination of issues affecting chaplaincy and spiritual care in NHSScotland, and the discussion of areas of commonality and difference in the understandings of different groups. It has acted as steering group for the Multi Faith Resource produced by NHS Education for Scotland ( NES) and it has set up working groups such as the one asked to revise the guidelines in this document.

It is an important forum and provides a useful conduit of information between board spiritual care committees, faith communities/belief groups, chaplains, and the Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Directorate. There exists a somewhat similar group in England and its retention and development is strongly recommended.

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