Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has become the first in the country to appoint a humanist in the role of lead chaplain to provide emotional and spiritual support to patients, families and staff.
On Monday 5th February 2018 Lindsay van Dijk started in her post as lead chaplain to a team of three Christian chaplains and 24 volunteers from various religious backgrounds who work across the Trust. Lindsay is the first humanist to join the team.
Lindsay brings a wealth of experience to the Trust having previously worked at the Humanist Community at Harvard University as a humanist pastoral carer. She has held posts in a hospice and nursing home for elderly patients with advanced Alzheimer’s disease and as a humanist pastoral carer at schools. Lindsay also sits on the board of the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network and trains and supervises other non-religious pastoral carers.
Lindsay said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed as lead chaplain and look forward to working with our multi-faith and belief team. Together, I know we can ensure people are able to receive the spiritual, pastoral and religious care that is right for them.
We want patients, their families and staff across the Trust to know they can come to us for support in their time of need, irrespective of faith or non-religious beliefs.‘
Carolyn Morrice, Chief Nurse for the Trust, said: ‘Following a robust recruitment process we are pleased to have appointed such an outstanding, forward thinking and experienced candidate.
Lindsay’s appointment confirms our commitment to providing a chaplaincy service with individuals’ choice at its heart, catering to all our patients, visitors and staff regardless of faith, denomination or religion, including those who have no faith or religion.‘
Chief executive of Humanists UK Andrew Copson said: ‘We’re delighted to see Lindsay appointed as the first humanist to lead a chaplaincy and pastoral support team.
Our research shows that non-religious people want to be able to access pastoral care in hospitals that is provided by like minded individual and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s move is a big step towards making that a reality.‘