I wholeheartedly agree that church[es] should fund NHS chaplains. It is an absolute scandal that the NHS is forking out £40 million a year on religious claptrap when the money could be used to employ more nurses, improve hygiene, upgrade medical equipment, and other items of real medical worth.
Those that feel the need to be ministered to in hospital should be getting called upon by the minister, priest, rabbi, or whaterver, from their local church. Those who don’t want to be ministered to don’t want to be ministered to!!! If a church insists on maintaining a presence within a particular hospital then they should foot the bill themselves – otherwise all they are doing is indulging in a bit of free advertising and (as I’ve seen happening) touting for business amongst the vulnerable.
At a time when congregation numbers are dwindling and more and more people question the validity of the world’s religions it is madness for the NHS to spend vast sums of money catering to a minority. In the event that there is genuine demand for a religious presence in a particular hospital then the church(es) involved should be required to cover the costs. After all most churches are not short of a bob or two and spending a little less on frivolous ceremony and religious finery would easily free up the necessary funds rather than placing further strain on the public purse.