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Chaplaincy team expands at Northumbria Healthcare

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Chaplaincy team expands at Northumbria Healthcare

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has expanded its chaplaincy team with three new full-time posts.

The new posts represent an investment by the trust in pastoral support for patients, visitors and staff in hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The trust’s chaplains provide confidential comfort and support to those who are facing difficult situations such as living with illness or facing bereavement.

The new chaplains are Rev Robert Muir who is based at Wansbeck General Hospital, Rev Max Shepherd at North Tyneside General Hospital and Fr Dave Nixon who works across both hospitals.

Rev Kathy Jones, chaplaincy team leader at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to expand our team and welcome three new chaplains who will enable us to provide increased support to patients, visitors and staff.

“Being in hospital may present some difficult situations and our role as chaplains is to be there for people of all faiths, and none, to listen to them and support them with our experience, our expertise and our inclusiveness.

“It’s our job to ensure that everybody in any situation in hospital has access to appropriate religious or spiritual support if that is important to them.”

The chaplains offer support to people and their families throughout the hospitals including on the wards, in maternity, those approaching the end of life or attending for investigative and surgical procedures.

Rev Max Shepherd has worked in the NHS his whole career, first as a nurse working in hospital and the community, and then as a chaplain.

Max, who has trained as a professional counsellor, was previously responsible for spiritual and pastoral care services in the Worcestershire NHS healthcare community and for a time acted as spiritual care consultant to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Rev Robert Muir joins the trust from his role as chaplain at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Before joining the NHS, he worked in Derby, London and Guernsey.

Fr David Nixon has held various roles working in parishes, school chaplaincy, youth and retreat ministry and teaching pastoral care skills.

After pursuing post-graduate studies in the USA, Fr Nixon worked as a hospital chaplain at St Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

In addition to Wansbeck and North Tyneside general hospitals, Fr Nixon is also Roman Catholic chaplain for Blyth Community Hospital and the Whalton Unit in Morpeth.

The trust is holding a welcoming service for the new chaplains on Wednesday 21 May in the rear of the restaurant at North Tyneside General Hospital at 2.30pm. The service is open to the public however anyone wishing to attend is asked to contact Rev Jones on 07920 412493.

The trust’s chaplaincy service covers all hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside. The general hospitals at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham have chapels for quiet reflection and prayer.

The chaplains, supported by trained volunteers, visit patients on hospital wards and in quiet spaces away from clinical areas.

The chaplaincy team has strong links with the leaders of local churches and faith communities and churches provide volunteers to help patients attend services in the chapel.