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Barrow Chaplain sails away to new adventures

Edward Northey

[T]he lead Chaplain at Furness General Hospital (FGH), Edward Northey, is saying goodbye to life in the NHS this month and setting sail on a new career as a Chaplain in the Royal Navy.

Edward, who’s been in post at FGH for the last three years, is following a family tradition in joining the Senior Service. He said: “For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the Royal Navy. My grandfather was a Captain in the service so you could say the navy is in my DNA. In my early twenties I considered joining but at that time I had a different calling.”

That calling is what brought Edward to Barrow-in-Furness where for the last few years he’s been Chaplain Site Team Leader, doing invaluable work in raising the profile of the Chaplaincy and ensuring it has a relevance for all patients and their families, no matter their personal beliefs, by working closely with other faith groups among both staff and patients.

Edward said: “The basic role of the chaplain is to be involved with others in the provision of holistic care within the hospital community. Holistic care is concerned with the whole person and includes not only a person’s physical health but also their social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. When visiting patients I’ve strived to give them a listening ear to help them deal with their worries and concerns.”

During his time at FGH Edward has managed two Chaplains and a growing group of Chaplaincy ward visitors. The volunteers have been recruited, trained and encouraged and supported by him and the Chaplaincy Team in order provide support to patients and their families whilst at the same time remaining emotionally protected.

Edward said: “During my time at the Trust I’ve led many different types of services, in often-difficult circumstances, in different locations throughout the hospital and community. Working with both the bereavement and end of life care teams has been deeply rewarding and I’ve very proud that our hard work was recognised by UHMBT when the bereavement team won Team of the Year.”

This hard work was also recognised this year when the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating for End of Life Care at the Trust was raised from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.

Edward concluded: “I’m pleased to have the chance to become a Naval Chaplain and further my vocational calling. Navy Chaplains must be prepared at a moment’s notice to provide pastoral care and advise on religious, ethical, and moral issues to all service personnel, of all faiths and none, and I think my work as a Hospital Chaplain in the NHS has really helped me to prepare for this.

“I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of being an NHS Chaplain and I love the fact that no two days were alike. I’ll be sad to leave UHMBT as I’ve loved the role, Barrow and the people I work with but I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life!”

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