Hospital chaplains reject pay deal

Hospital chaplains have rejected a pay offer, it was announced today.

More than 300 chaplains, who offer spiritual care to patients and their families as well as staff at hospitals across the country, voted by 5-1 against a three-year deal offering a rise of 3.25% this year.

The Manufacturing Science and Finance union, which represents the chaplains, said pay levels for chaplains had fallen behind workers covered by pay review bodies, including nurses and doctors.

"With this historic vote, hospital chaplains are telling the government to recognise the vital role they play in delivering spiritual healing to patients, their families and NHS staff.

"Hospital chaplains are health professionals and as such should be properly rewarded for their professionalism in handling many physical and emotional problems," said union spokesman Rev Graham Theobald.

The offer would have increased the starting salary for a hospital chaplain to £15,287 a year.