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#Basildon: Bishop of Bradwell appoints new Lead Chaplain for hospital

22 Dec #Basildon: Bishop of Bradwell appoints new Lead Chaplain for hospital

A popular member of the Basildon Hospital’s chaplaincy team was licenced as lead chaplain during a special ceremony led by the Bishop of Bradwell.

Linda Peall joined Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals in 2010 and since then has become a well-recognised and much-loved member of hospital staff.

She was appointed lead chaplain before more than 50 friends, colleagues and staff, who crowded the hospital’s multi-faith prayer room for the licencing ceremony, led by the Right Reverend John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell, with the help of Reverend Canon Jenny Tomlinson.

Tom Abell, deputy chief executive, said: “As a hospital, we are a family, and the chaplaincy team is an integral part of that. Linda is a fantastic member of the team, who is there for patients and staff through difficult times and happy times. I really look forward to working with her in her new role, developing the chaplaincy services and providing better care for our patients and staff. 
The chaplaincy team at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals provide 24/7 spiritual support for patients, relatives and staff. Although leaders of different faiths are available within the hospital, you do not have to be religious to request spiritual support.

Earlier this year, Linda Peall spoke about her job for our staff magazine Stepping Up and explained how being a chaplain requires more than religion. Here is what she said:
“When I became ordained in 1992, in the Anglican Church of England, I worked for a very wise vicar who said you should always have another string to your bow. So I went down to my nearest hospital in Darlington to volunteer.
“People are much more open and honest in hospital than in a parish setting. Those who are vulnerable want to talk about how they really feel. Probably because they cannot hide their feelings well, or maybe because they feel they are in a safe place.

“It’s why I love doing this job. I love talking to people and having an honest conversation. So I started the gradual career transition to hospital chaplain in 1995 and joined BTUH in 2010. Since then I’ve carried out blessings for organ donations, arranged emergency weddings and conducted hospital-arranged funerals.

“I never assume anything about what the person believes and I’d never impose my beliefs upon someone else. I am a people person and I’m here for everybody. A parish vicar has a responsibility to teach religion but that’s not my job here. My job is to listen and talk with whomever, about whatever. We wear dog collars so patients know we aren’t clinical, but it can also be a barrier. We have to work hard to let people know we aren’t going to go all ‘god squad’ on them. There’s no agenda.

“I am constantly amazed by human resilience. I say to people you have got the resources within you to cope, you just need to find them. People are so brave, so strong, so courageous. I get the strength I need from my faith, walking, mindfulness meditation and spending time with my husband and 22 year-old-daughter. I’m also an amateur photographer; in fact I’m the administrator for the British Hoverfly Flickr group.
“Each of us has the ability to lift or crush a patient’s spirits and every one of us has a responsibility towards patient experience. It’s often the small acts, manners and behaviours we use that determine which of those the patient will feel. Spiritual care is not just the job of the chaplains. We’re all human, and we all carry that responsibility.”