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The HSE provided the figure in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil Deputy Mattie McGrath, who asked for details of the amount of funding being made available to support hospital chaplaincy services for each of the past four years.
The HSE stated in its response that while it does not hold specific information on the amount of funding available to support hospital chaplaincy services, it could provide the annual pay-related cost of running the service.
A new chaplaincy council has been established by the HSE’s Patient Advocacy Division under the stewardship of Mr Greg Price.
“The HSE is working very closely with a range of faiths and non-faith based chaplains to discuss and agree a range of improvement actions for chaplaincy services generally,” according to the response.
“These discussions are ongoing at present.”
In its response, the HSE also said that research evidence supports the benefits of the inclusion of chaplaincy and pastoral care in a holistic approach to healthcare.
“Demographic changes also mean that pastoral care needs to have an emphasis on spiritual support if it is to respond to patients of other faith traditions or those with secular beliefs.”