Ealing Hospital has appointed a new head of the chaplaincy service and wants patients and staff to know “religious recruitment is not on the agenda”.
Imam Rizwan Rawat, who is known as Riz, becomes the first Imam to head up the chaplains at the London Northwest University Health Care Trust hospital.
Riz said that he and his fellow chaplains often put religion aside when they talk with patients and staff. “I prefer the term ‘spiritual care team’ but that is a work in progress.”
He added: “We are here to listen and talk with people about whatever is troubling them. We don’t pretend to be psychologists but just getting people to talk about what is on their mind can help. What goes on inside us is as important as what goes on outside us and being in hospital often gives people to reflect on their lives.”
“I’ve got lots of ideas but it starts with people knowing I that am there if they need me. Please say hello if you see me.”
Riz, who previously was a chaplain at Belmarsh prison, heads up a team of three full-time chaplains at Ealing Hospital and hope to dispel some myths about chaplaincy services especially that it is about getting people to become religious to a faith. “I can assure people religious recruitment is not on the agenda. I do think the service labours under that image along with the belief that we are all about crisis and death.”
He added: “We are also here to celebrate the positives, such as the birth of a child or recovery from serious illness so my message to staff is tell us about it!”