The National Secular Society (NSS) are opposing the need for Hospital Chaplains in the NHS. The following extracts are from an article on Hospital Chaplains which can be read in full here and you can also sign an e-petition in support for NHS Chaplaincy services here.
"[hospital chaplains] spend only a minority of their time with people of explicit religious affiliation. Much more time is spent on people of no explicit religious belief, but whose illness has brought them to a place of uncertainty, anxiety, and questioning, and who ask the chaplain to accompany them through that experience. [Chaplains] don’t proselytise (it’s against their code of conduct), and are bound by their professional standards to be open, accepting and non-judgemental to those who ask for their help. [Chaplains] are likely to have well developed skills in secular ethics, philosophy, sociology and many other disciplines, and also often have a profound body of experience to draw on. Almost uniquely in the contemporary NHS, chaplains organise their time so as to give their patients the attention they need, rather than working strictly to timed appointments.
[Secularists] tend to argue simply that chaplaincy should be taken out of NHS hands altogether and, in effect, privatised by handing it over to religious organisations. [This] would make chaplaincy more narrowly religious, less helpful to patients, and virtually useless to NHS professionals and the institutions in which they work. A chaplain employed by a Church would see only patients who were members of that Church; a chaplain employed by the NHS is available for anyone. A chaplain employed by a Church would have no commitment or loyalty to the hospital they worked in. An NHS chaplain not only has that commitment and loyalty, but has an often explicit remit to help guide and challenge the institution when needed. The chaplain is also one of a usually small group of professionals whose role is to resist the tendency of modern technological biomedicine to see sick people merely as broken-down machines, and who try to affirm and promote the human values of good healthcare."