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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 18:13 GMT
Agreement over hospital chaplains
Worcestershire Royal Hospital
The hospital trust made the cuts to save 100,000
A health trust that announced plans to cut six out of seven hospital chaplain posts has said it will now keep another one of the full-time positions.

Funding from three charitable groups has meant the trust will now employ two full-time chaplains.

However, four part-time posts and another full-time post will go.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust announced the plans in a bid to save 100,000. It would have left one chaplain to look after three hospitals.

'Reluctantly accepted'

A statement from church leaders in the area said it welcomed the decision.

But it added there was no point in concealing its reluctance over accepting the smaller-than-originally-planned reduction in the chaplaincy service.

League of Friends groups at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital and the Worcestershire Royal have agreed to underwrite the costs of providing pastoral support for patients and staff until 2008.

A fundraising appeal will be launched by churches in the area to generate extra money.

'Enormous value'

A hospital spokesman said he hoped that by the end of 2008 the trust would be able to pick up the costs of the chaplaincy service once more.

"The trust board's decision to consider a reduction in chaplaincy services was an extremely difficult one, driven by our need to bridge a massive funding gap," he said.

"We never doubted the enormous value of the service, or the genuine appreciation felt by the many patients and staff who were comforted and supported by our chaplains.

"But we are faced with the need to make major savings to secure the future of safe, affordable hospital services."

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