Health Services

The Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee

operates within the terms for reference provided by a

Health Services

Memorandum of Understanding

with the

New South Wales Government.

Memorandum of Understanding

This memorandum (MOU) was signed in 2010.

Mission of Health Services Chaplains

The mission of Health Chaplains has three parts. It is to contribute to the spiritual, psychological and emotional well being of

    • patients and clients of the NSW Health system,

    • their families, and

    • those who serve in this system.

Organisation of NSW Health

NSW Health is divided into

    • fifteen Local Health Districts and

    • three Specialty Networks covering New South Wales.[1]

Each Local Health District and Specialty Network has been established with a governing board.[2]

Chaplaincy services are governed by a central MOU between the CCAC and NSW Health. The terms of the MOU apply equally to all districts and divisions of NSW Health.

General Principles of Chaplaincy in MOU

Seven general principles of chaplaincy have been addressed in the MOU.

These are:

  1. The Nature of Healthcare Chaplaincy

  2. Goals of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care

  3. Role in Hospitals

  4. The Needs of Patients and Families

  5. The Needs of Staff Members

  6. Development and Education

  7. Privacy and Confidentiality

What is Spiritual Care?

All Chaplaincy is to promote well-being in the spiritual core of our humanity. Juvenile Justice Chaplains provide spiritual care to young persons to help them develop the resources to successfully cope with themselves and their world. This is done with the understanding that an important part being human is spiritual: spiritual beings, living in physical bodies, in an ever-changing world.

Spiritual care addresses this dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity. Through this spirituality individuals and communities seek

  • ultimate meaning,

  • purpose, and/or

  • transcendence.

It is exercised in relation to

      • self,

      • family,

      • others,

      • community,

      • the significant, and/or

      • the sacred. [3]

These issues are recognised as

  • understood and expressed differently by people with different life experiences, religions and cultures but are

  • common to all human beings regardless of their faith or no-faith.

Pastoral Care and Spiritual Care in the MOU

Within the context of the MOU between the CCAC and NSW Health, the terms Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care are often used interchangeably to refer to the healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling activity of the faith community, helping people as they go through crisis and growth to deal with their ultimate concerns.

Spiritual care refers to approaches and practices that guide and nourish the human spirit in the struggle to survive and grow in times of distress and difficulty.

  • In the case of theistic religions, this is through belief in and alliance with God.

  • It may be described as the web of relationships that give coherence to an individual’s life.

  • Religious belief may or may not be part of that web.

  • Often an individual only becomes aware of strands in the web when they are stretched or broken, as happens with a life-changing event such as a diagnosis of serious illness in himself or herself or in someone they love.

Spiritual care is not merely a matter of facilitating the private religious practices of some patients. Attending to the spiritual needs of patients and relatives, whether or not they are formally religious, is an integral part of the healing process along with other aspects of care for all involved, including the medical staff

Accreditation and Standards

The CCAC provides guidelines for various aspects of Chaplaincy and negotiates on behalf of its member religious organisations.

It seeks to

  • ensure appropriate appointments,

  • recommends standards of excellence and

  • acts as a resource for member religious organisations on chaplaincy matters.

Institutions Served

Health Services Chaplaincies may be found in any of the Health Services in NSW.

Economic Value

A 2014 report by Deloitte Acccess Economics that had been commissioned by the CCAC found on the basis of both international and domestic studies that chaplaincy services provide a benefit to cost ratio of 6. That is for every dollar spent, six are saved.[4]

[1] “Local Health Districts,” accessed July 25, 2016,

[2]“LHD Boards,” accessed July 25, 2016, Services in NSW

[3] Derived from Puchalski, Christina M., Robert Vitillo, Sharon K. Hull, and Nancy Reller. “Improving the Spiritual Dimension of Whole Person Care: Reaching National and International Consensus.” Journal of Palliative Medicine 17, no. 6 (June 2014): 642–56. doi:10.1089/jpm.2014.9427.

[4] Deliotte Access Economics,Economic and Social Benefits of Civil Chaplaincies in New South Wales (2014 p.i).