Going into Hospital

Given the large numbers of people being admitted to hospital at this time, it is particularly important to be clear about what you should do if you or a friend or family member is admitted and seriously ill.

The most important thing to do is to get a message to the Catholic chaplain. The quickest and most effective way to do this is to ring the hospital switchboard and ask them to do so. If it is not urgent you will be connected to a voicemail for the chaplaincy team; if it is urgent, tell the switchboard and they will contact the duty Catholic chaplain by mobile or pager. In most hospitals the chaplaincy service is well run according to contractual obligations and you or your relative or friend will be seen as quickly as possible (within current constraints). There are some hospitals where the system is less clear, but certainly for the Kings/PRUH trust, Lewisham, and the central London hospitals this should work well.

It is good for the presbytery to be notified too, so that the name of the person concerned can be added to the list of sick people prayed for every day, and for our information. But unless there is a problem it really is best not to expect the clergy to do what you could do more quickly yourself – that is, to contact the chaplain. The more people involved in a process of ringing up or leaving messages, the longer it will all take. Please also remember that in nearly every case it is the responsibility of the hospital chaplain or the chaplaincy team to visit patients, not parish clergy, especially, as at the moment chaplaincy teams have been given proper protective equipment – and in some cases only they will be admitted to wards.

Fr Ashley

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