Spiritual support

Chaplain and patient

We have a large team of chaplains at our hospitals, and their message is simple: if you think they can help, call them today.


How to contact the chaplaincy team

Chaplains are available 24 hours a day in both our hospitals. You can contact a chaplain either:

  • By asking a member of staff on a ward or in a department
  • By contacting the reception
  • By calling the switchboard

University Hospital Lewisham

The chaplaincy service at Lewisham can be contacted on 020 8333 3299.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The chaplaincy service at Greenwich can be reached on 0208 836 6831.


Spiritual spaces in our hospitals

The Chapel at Lewisham Hospital

The Chapel at Lewisham Hospital is in the middle of the Waterloo Block. It is rather hard to find, but if you walk towards the Catford end of the hospital (behind the old reception), look for the middle door in what is pretty obviously an administrative building. Walk through the door; the Chapel is the first door on the right. Please feel free to use the Chapel. It is available from first thing in the morning until about 6.30pm in the evening.

The Prayer Room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Queen Elizabeth Hospital has a Prayer Room on the ground floor, to the left of the main entrance. Like The Quiet Place, it is a multi-faith (and no faith) room. And like The Quiet Place you will find prayer mats, books and pamphlets that will hopefully be useful to you. Prayers of different religions are said regularly in the Prayer Room. Check the noticeboard for days and times. If you want to speak to a chaplain at QEH, simply knock on the door or leave a note and one of us will try to help you.

 

What can the chaplaincy team do for you?

It may seem at first to be a rather odd suggestion. You might well ask, what on earth can the chaplaincy do for me?

Good question.

The answer is that the NHS is committed to what is known as holistic care; that is, the care of the whole person.

Most obviously, hospitals deal with physical needs such as mending a broken leg or repairing a dodgy heart valve.

However, staff also try to address mental needs such as the stress that can come with treatment or the strain that can come from modern life.

Part of that strain might come from how we live or where we live.

These different aspects of being a whole person are vitally important.

But, if we are really going to care for the whole person, other aspects have to be considered too.

We have to take into account our emotional wellbeing, our spiritual wellbeing and our religious wellbeing – even if our understanding of religion does not neatly pop us into a convenient pigeon hole.

A broken leg will not only hurt physically, it will hurt emotionally especially if it is the most recent of a series of unexpected incidents.

A dodgy heart valve will, almost certainly, affect us emotionally. We might think that we are in a more difficult place than we actually are.

Emotional stress can lead quickly to spiritual stress, when we start to question our understanding of what life is and what life is about. Our sense of self-worth, our dignity and our values can all be undermined. All of this can be made worse by the sense of isolation that many people experience when there are admitted to a hospital.

And, for the person used to going to a church, a mosque, a synagogue or a temple, that broken leg or dodgy heart valve is most certainly going to disrupt their pattern of life – even if only for a short time.

The chaplaincy might not be of much help in mending the leg or replacing the heart valve but it can help with all of the other aspects of illness.

Why? Because chaplains are paid to give their time, to listen and to be there when things have to said or – just as often – when things can’t be said because there are no words. And that is not just at sad and difficult times – it's also for wonderfully joyful times such as the birth of a longed-for baby.

The members of the chaplaincy represent most of the major religions and we are pretty good at listening to folk who have no religion or whose faith is a bit rusty.

We are here to help everybody… patients, families, carers and staff alike.

 So… if you think we can help, call us. Or, at least, ask a member of staff to call us.

You never know, we might be able to help!