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Spiritual Care (Chaplaincy)

The Department of Spiritual Care offers pastoral, spiritual and religious care to all patients, their families and carers, and staff. coming to hospital can be an unsettling and stressful experience, and we are here to help and support you in any way we can.

Simon Betteridge - Lead ChaplainMy name is Simon Betteridge and I am the lead chaplain for UHCW NHS Trust. I have been ordained within the Church of England for 11 years after training at St John’s Nottingham and more recently at Queen’s in Birmingham. I have been a chaplain in the trust since 2004 and became lead chaplain in July 2010. I also represent chaplains in the West Midlands in the College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC) which is our professional body, and chair the training & education group within the college.

While working in the trust I have been mainly responsible for providing care to families in cases of neonatal loss, caring for the needs of elderly patients and developing the chaplaincy provision which we deliver to the mental health patients in Coventry and in Warwick.

We are very fortunate in the trust to have a comprehensive team of chaplains from Anglican, Roman Catholic and Free Church Christian denominations and representatives of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths. The team of chaplains enjoy valuable support from a group of around 50 volunteer lay visitors working at both the University Hospital and St Cross in Rugby. We are extremely pleased to have a new group of teenage lay visitors all from Blue Coat School. The eighteen six form students from a mixture of Christian, Muslim and Sikh backgrounds completed their training in May. Since beginning visiting they have been warmly appreciated by the patients they have seen. In a year the paid chaplaincy team expect to see around 8000 patients, with a further 10,000 patients being seen by volunteer lay visitors.

Faith Centre at University Hospital, CoventryThe Faith Centre at the University Hospital is open to all patients, staff and visitors irrespective of faith or none, it offers a place of sanctuary which might be for prayer or just to sit and be quiet. As well as the main area which is shared by all we also have individual Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu prayer rooms. At St Cross there is a traditional Christian Chapel and a multi-faith prayer room.

What is spiritual care?

Spirituality and spiritual care are difficult to define, in some respects it is like trying to define the shape of water, one can only define the shape of that in which it is contained. In some ways our spirituality is like that, it will take different shapes for individuals and the communities to which we belong. What gives us meaning and purpose in life is a universal question. The language of the spiritual uses words such as loving and being love; belonging; self-worth; integrity; purpose; identity; hope; expressing creativity; expressing sexuality, integrity, truth and responsibility. For some these might be expressed through faith but even those who take no part in organised religion have a spiritual element to their life. Spirituality might be expressed through family and relationships, nature, the arts, music, work, sport and so on.

A stay in hospital can involve physical needs which may be obvious but it can also involve emotional and spiritual needs which may be less obvious and may come as a surprise. Questions may be raised about ones identity, value and status, especially when separated from roles such as parent, spouse, carer, provider etc. Many patients speak of having too much time to think and life issues may be raised that are seemingly unconnected with the reason for being in hospital.

A patient may be seeking a sense of well-being and security and chaplains can help work through these experiences. For many this will be being given the time to be listened to, some may want help in speaking to other family members about what is going on. Others may want some type of religious input, receiving Holy Communion, prayer and even baptism, weddings and funerals. It has been said that at times of instability chaplains provide ‘firm ground under the feet’ of those they care for.

Chaplains are on duty seven days a week, out of office hours the emergency on call chaplain can be contacted via switchboard. Please feel free to call us and request a visit and ward staff will be happy to contact us on your behalf. If you know you are coming into hospital you may contact us before hand and request a visit. As we seek to offer care your privacy, dignity and confidentially will be respected by us at all times.

Faith Centre Services

10am: Holy Communion at University Hospital, Coventry

2.15pm Ecumenical Service at Hospital of St Cross, Rugby

3pm Mass (RC) at University Hospital, Coventry


11am Mass (RC) at University Hospital, Coventry

1.15pm: Midweek Service at University Hospital, Coventry

1.30pm: Catholic Mass (First Tuesday of each month at Hospital of St Cross, Rugby

1.20pm: Muslim Prayers at University Hospital, Coventry

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