Alan Rogers of the Charitable Chaplaincy Campaign sent me an email recently about the charity LATCH. Alan said, “I looked up LATCH after seeing a TV trailer and as you might expect became very angry.”
So what made Alan angry?
LATCH has just celebrated its 30th anniversary. It supports the oncology centre at the Children’s Hospital for Wales. I am not surprised that Alan got angry after reading about the magnificent work this Welsh children`s cancer charity does and has to raise its funds by means of charitable donations whilst religious care in hospitals is government funded. LATCH raised £720,000 in the year ending Dec 31st 2010. In the same year the Wales NHS spent £1.3 million paying clerics to provide hospital religious care; an amount the Archbishop of Wales has described as “Small fry”.
Those of who support the Charitable Chaplaincy Campaign have been accused of simply opposing Hospital Chaplaincy. This is not true. We are not demanding the end to this service and realise that it provides support that many patients value. All we are saying is that it should be funded by means of a charitable trust. Yet faith leaders insist on religious care being funded by the health service. Lets see the £1.3 million of public money go to frontline clinical services.
Setting a £5 million example.
Another anniversary is imminent. Next month the Wales Air Ambulance service will be celebrating eleven years of valuable, if not essential, service to Wales. Not surprisingly with helicopters based in north, mid and south Wales, it is expensive to run. It costs £5 million annually to run the service. Most people seem surprised when they learn that Wales Air Ambulance service is also funded by a charity.
If LATCH and Wales Air Ambulance can fund themselves through a charity then it should be quite easy for the religious community to raise the money to fund hospital chaplaincy; after all its only “small fry”.