"As the NHS looks to find at least £20bn of savings between now and 2015, could the provision of chaplains be one area where the service could save money? Edward Presswood, a doctor of acute medicine based in North London, and Rev Debbie Hodge, chief officer of Multi Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy, debate whether there is a place for spirituality on hospital wards."
Debbie Hodge offered a similar argument to that used by the Lords Spiritual when attempting to justify seats in the House of Lords for Anglican bishops: that "religious" care isn't the forefront of the care they provide, but their religiosity gives them unique expertise. This ties in with the suggestion that clerics have some special spiritual power that only they have access to, perhaps because they have a hotline to the Almighty. Unjustified assumptions like this lead to taxpayers funding hospital chaplains to the tune of £29 million per year. Edward Presswood ably skewered the assumption with his football-fan analogy.
Listen to the discussion here (fast forward to 2h45m — available for a week):
Given more time, I'd like to have heard the Rev Hodge explain precisely what she means by "spiritual care" as it seems this is a term bandied about with little idea of what it's actually supposed to be.