A team of ten chaplaincy volunteers are linked to six GP surgeries across the whole of Greater Lincolnshire. Volunteers are from several Christian denominations, although the project, which began with an idea in 2012, is currently managed by the Lincolnshire Methodist District.
Our vision is for chaplaincy to be a service integrated into primary healthcare throughout Greater Lincolnshire offering a professional listening and guidance service dedicated to holistic care and improving wellbeing.
LCHC aims to be a compassionate presence to those in need, improving holistic wellbeing and bringing hope.
Chaplaincy volunteers offer individual appointments within GP Practices. Face to face appointments were replaced with telephone appointments during the Covid pandemic but a mixed approach, including video appointments, is likely to be developed in the future.
The chaplaincy service recognises that some patients need more time to talk and be listened to than may be possible in a restricted appointment with a GP. In this way emotional, psychological and spiritual needs may be addressed.
Patients do not need to have a faith nor do they need to talk about faith matters during an appointment although, for those who ask for it and when appropriate, spiritual matters may be discussed and prayer offered.
Data collected shows that patients often present with problems such as anxiety or difficulty coping with bereavement. Anecdotal evidence suggests that chaplaincy can reduce the number of appointments the patient needs with a GP.
Feedback from Lincolnshire GPs.
"I've had several positive responses from patients how good she (the Chaplain) is and that she has helped them a lot."
"An absolutely brilliant service, great feedback from patients. Great for those patients who need extra support/talking time that we can't give them."
"I have found the chaplaincy service really positive. It has given me, as a GP, another option in treating patients without necessarily having to prescribe meds or refer to counselling. I have suggested to a significant number of patients that they self-refer to the Chaplains. All who have done so have found it extremely beneficial. Unlike traditional counselling most only need a couple of sessions so have not ended up being dependent. I would like to see the service expanded and would recommend it to all GP's practices."
We plan to develop the chaplaincy and offer the service to more GP Practices. We therefore need to recruit and train more chaplaincy volunteers in the coming years.
The project is managed by a District team chaired by Sally-Ann Robinson (link to contact form?) and the chaplaincy volunteers are managed by Howard Smedley (link to contact form)
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