Leeds chaplain reflects on year of lockdown

As part of the National Day of Reflection, one of our hospital chaplains has looked back on the past year.
The Revd Ben Rhodes, Head of Chaplaincy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has written about his experience of chaplaincy in the time of COVID, and how he has seen first-hand the effects it has had on the NHS and its staff.
His reflection is found below.

“Just over a year ago our hospitals received their first COVID patients. 
“The chaplaincy’s delivery of care has changed dramatically; it’s ministry in full PPE and scrubs. 
“As ever, we must “do no harm”. 
“Everything has to be planned and intentional to stop COVID transmission – such as the order we visit non-COVID to COVID patients. 
“There can be challenges with communicating wearing a mask; Norma Desmond might have been able to say anything with her eyes, but I struggle! 
“Death has been ever-present, the team constantly called to support the dying and those important to them.
“There has been much blessing: collaboration with our parish colleagues supporting us with care and being on call; working with the diocese and other faiths to establish a chaplaincy from scratch for the Nightingale hospital; web-based faith celebrations, like the Christmas carols, having a much greater reach than usual; local businesses sending food to keep the staff going.
“We’ve had prayers and messages supporting us: “Are you ok?”; “Just letting you know we are praying for the NHS and your team.” 
“The challenge now is how the NHS responds to COVID whilst restart comprehensive care.
“More essential than ever will be caring for a workforce showing the scars of three waves, yet doing all they can day by day.”

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