Spiritual Care

Spiritual Care

Illness doesn't just affect the body – and  time in  hospital, either as a patient or visitor, can be  an unsettling experience as hopes and plans have to be thought through afresh and new ways of living accepted.  Questions often arise as people wrestle with their deepest needs.

The Trust  recognises that meeting spiritual needs can be an important factor in a person’s wellbeing and that this is not limited to people who have a formal religious affiliation or belief. 

Chaplains are appointed by the Trust to provide spiritual and pastoral care as well as a listening ear. Support is provided in a sensitive, non-judgemental and confidential manner -  helping people find strength, comfort and meaning at what can be a very difficult time in their lives.

About us

The department has four chaplains:  Rev John Thompson [Lead Chaplain], Rev Katie McClure [at Cheltenham General] .  Rev Frank Wainwright serves the Roman Catholic community across both hospitals.  There is currently a vacancy at Gloucestershire Royal.

The Department of Spiritual Care is supported by a  large team of trained  volunteers who visit wards regularly.  As well as  representing the main Christian denominations they are also drawn from other world faiths.  The department holds a contact list for most religious groupings and will always try to put a patient in touch with an appropriate faith leader if one is not available in our regular team.



Here for you

Whether you come to hospital as a patient or a family member/carer or work here   the chaplains are here to support you.

If you know that you will be coming into  hospital you can contact us  in advance to arrange your spiritual care.

For patients, as a part of the admission procedure  and  your ongoing care, you will be asked about your religion, but if you want to see a chaplain you must make a specific request.  We can also contact your local faith leader on your behalf – but  only if you ask us to.

You may ask ward staff to contact a chaplain at any time and a member of the team will visit you as soon as they are able.  Ministry is always available at  your bedside and we can sometimes make arrangements for you to visit the chapel or prayer rooms.

Families, carers and friends are also welcome to contact the chaplains directly to request support for themselves as well as for the patient.

Keep in touch! - From time to time we organise special, seasonal events for patients and staff.  Any staff members who would like to know about our programme in advance should email us with their name and department.

If you would like us to visit you or someone you know while in hospital you must contact the chaplains or make a special request on the ward that the chaplain be informed of your wishes. If you do not contact us we may not know that you are in hospital and cannot support your spiritual needs.

What we do

We provide space for people of all faiths and those who hold no particular faith to explore their spiritual and religious needs. Our chapels and prayer rooms are open  24 hours a day  and are available to the whole hospital community:  patients, families, carers, staff, volunteers and visitors.

At Gloucester there is a spacious chapel by the tower entrance.  Here you will find a ‘prayer tree’ and a prayer book where you can  request prayers.  People often spend time here away from the pressures and anxieties of hospital life.  Christian morning prayer is shared by the chaplains every weekday at 9am.  On a Sunday there is a service of Holy Communion at 8.30am. The Gloucester Prayer Rooms are located close to Foster’s Restaurant and contain resources for many world faiths.  Muslim Friday Prayers are held in them at 1.30pm every week, but they are available at other times for anyone who requires a private, quiet place for reflection or meditation.

Cheltenham has an attractive peaceful chapel near the Blue Spa Café in the West Block.   It is open 24 hours a day, and is a place where people often come to find space and stillness away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital.  There is a prayer book where you can enter requests for yourself or a loved one. Christian morning prayer is offered at 9am each day to which all are welcome.  There are Muslim prayers at 1:30 on a Friday.  A service of Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 8:30am.  There are various resources available for Christians, Muslims and members of other world faiths.

We appreciate that  patients are often unable to visit the chapels & prayer rooms, so our chaplains and volunteers ensure that  bedside ministry is offered where appropriate.  This may be a traditional rite, such as Holy Communion or a less formal way of marking a life-event  according to the patients own needs, insights and experiences.

There is always a chaplain on duty or ‘on call’ – and , in an emergency, they can be contacted via the hospital switchboard 0300 422 2222, 24 hours a day. 


Other links and useful information

The links below will take you to information, documents and sites published by a variety of organisations. However, we do not accept any liability for the accuracy of their information and the link does not indicate that we support or agree with the content of all material or that we endorse any advertising.

Chaplaincy Code of Conduct

Equalities Act - Summary of the law of Equality and protected characteristics

Religion or Belief - A practical guide for the NHS

Religion or Belief - A summary of the law

Religion, belief and sexual orientation in the workplace

Spiritual Care Policy - February 2012

BBC - Religion

BBC - Religious Interfaith Calendar


Contact Us

The chaplains have an office alongside the chapels in both hospitals.  You may call at any time.  If there is nobody in the office, please leave a note in the letter box by the door - it will be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.  

You can also contact us as follows: [Please leave a message if it is not urgent]

Gloucestershire Royal Cheltenham General Hospital
Department of Spiritual Care Department of Spiritual Care
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Cheltenham General Hospital
Great Western Road Sandford Road
Gloucester Cheltenham
GL1 3NN GL53 7AN
0300 422 6200 0300 422 4286

 or email:  spiritualcare@glos.nhs.uk