Urgent Spotlight on Spiritual Care: SHA’s Fight for Funding and Holistic Healthcare

2 November 2023

This week, Spiritual Health Association (SHA) has garnered significant media attention, shining a spotlight on the crucial role of spiritual care in healthcare. In the Herald Sun, two noteworthy pieces, ‘Cruel Cuts in Palliative Care’ and ‘Vital Funding is Dying Out,’ underscored the importance of sustaining funding for spiritual care. SHA’s CEO, Dr. Cheryl Holmes, expressed her gratitude for the long-standing government support that has sustained this work in Victorian hospitals for nearly seven decades, highlighting the bipartisan consensus that has traditionally backed these initiatives. Moreover, the issue of funding cuts to SHA and faith communities supporting spiritual care was recently raised in parliament, further emphasising the gravity of the situation.

At the heart of this media coverage is the recognition that spiritual care is a fundamental human right, a service that should be accessible to all individuals, inclusive of all faiths and worldviews. SHA is diligently working to implement The National Model of Spiritual Care in Health , an initiative aimed at ensuring the delivery of high-quality, safe, and contemporary spiritual care services to patients and families.

The conversations are continuing, as evidenced by the engaging discussion between SHA’s CEO Cheryl Holmes and 3AW’s Neil Mitchell. They delved into the critical implications of the funding cessation by the Victorian government on spiritual care, particularly its far-reaching effects on faith communities and vulnerable patients and families. This spotlight on the potential consequences of the funding cut has drawn attention from various stakeholders, including Zakaria Wahid, the general manager of SHA member organisation Islamic Council of Victoria, who expressed concerns about the sudden reduction in funding. It’s a call to stand united in support of holistic care for all patients and their families, underscoring the indispensable role of spiritual care in the healthcare landscape.

Listen now to the interviews on 3AW:

Monday 30th October – Major palliative service urges state government to rethink cut in funding

Tuesday 31st October – Why the sudden cut in palliative funding is leaving organisations alarmed and disappointed