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Spiritual, Pastoral, and Religious Care Service

The Chaplains

​"Chaplains are available to give spiritual, pastoral and religious support to patients, their visitors and staff, whether they have or do not have a particular faith."

Contact Details

01782 676400 


The Chaplaincy Team provides pastoral, religious and spiritual care to patients, visitors and staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and at County Hospital, Stafford

The Spiritual, Pastoral, and Religious Care (SPARC) service seeks to support people of all beliefs and none. You may wish to be visited by someone from your own belief community. Alternatively, we are very happy to contact someone on your behalf.

This service is available 24 hours a day, 

7 days a week.

Normal working hours are 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Sunday.

A chaplain is also available outside these hours for urgent calls and referrals

You can contact the SPARC Team for RSUH & County by asking a member of ward staff or by calling 01782 676400. Staff may also obtain on-call information through Rotawatch.

In an emergency you can contact switchboard on 01782 715444 and ask for the Chaplain on-call.

Information about how to make an urgent referral outside normal working hours is contained in the message on the Chaplaincy Office answering machine.


All matters are dealt with in confidence. Patient information is always held by all NHS staff, including Chaplains, in confidence. The SPARC service has access to a very limited amount of patient information collected by the Trust. 

Chaplains are routinely notified of the admission and discharge of patients to enable them to arrange visits. This information provides the SPARC service with personal information such as your name, address, religion, and ward details. 

If you do not wish the SPARC service to have access to this personal information please contact a member of staff. The SPARC service does not access any of your treatment or clinical details.

The team consists of Chaplains, Locums, Chaplaincy Volunteers and partners with Faith and Community Leaders. 

The Chaplains work together as an Ecumenical team.

The Chaplains are:

Rev Christine Wright – Head Chaplain, full-time

Rev Leo Varquez – Chaplain, full-time

Rev Vivienne Flanagan – Chaplain, full-time

Fr. Michael Puljic – Chaplain, part-time

Rev Alan Shaw – Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Rev Deacon Melvyn Harwood – Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Miss Alison Phillips – Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Mr Nimilote Rokotoro – Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Rev Lucinda Shaw - Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Mrs Kalsoom Dar - Assistant Chaplain, part-time

They are ​​assisted by a team of Locum Chaplains

The work of the SPARC team is further enhanced by a group of volunteers who visit patients and help with services. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact the Chaplaincy Office on 01782 676400.

The te​am is further supported by the SPARC Administrative Team:

Rebecca Wilmore – Administrative Assistant, part-time

The Prayer Centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital is located on Lower Ground 2 (near Subway and Costa Coffee).

From the Main Entrance follow the signs for Lift C.

The Prayer Centre is open 24 hours each day and includes:

A Chapel

A Mosque (with washing facilities)

A Contemplation Room

The Chaplains' Office (open 8.30am - 4.30pm every day)

Chapel Services

Holy Communion - Sundays at 11am 

Roman Catholic Mass – Mondays at 5pm

Other services can be found on the Prayer Centre bulletin board

Mosque Prayer Times

Friday Jumah Prayer     - 1st Jumah - 1:10 – 1:35pm
                                     -  2nd Jumah - 1:35 - 2.00pm

The Pastoral Care Centre at County Hospital, Stafford is located on the first floor of the main building between EOU and Critical Care and comprises:

A Quiet Room - (Open when Chaplaincy staff are available)

The Pilgrim Chapel - Open 24 hrs a day 

The Muslim Prayer room is located on the ground floor; from the main entrance, walk past reception and turn right, walk to the end of the long corridor and follow signs for the Muslim Prayer Room.  An access code is needed which can be collected from main reception or from one of the chaplains (01782 676400).

The Chaplains' are on site at county 08.30-12.30 Monday to Friday and 08.30-16.30 on Sunday

Chapel Services

Holy Communion - Sundays 11.00am 

Other services can be found on the Chapel bulletin board

Muslim Prayer Room Times

Jumah Prayer - Friday 12.45pm

Other times can be found on the Prayer Bulletin Board

Bereavement Midwives with support from the Spiritual, Pastoral, and Religious Care Service from UHNM have organised a baby memorial service for more than 10 years for parents that have lost their baby in neonates or the delivery suite.

This year more than 350 guests attended the service, held a Swan Bank Methodist Church in Burslem on Sunday 7 July 2019. The service is run for an hour and each year has a theme, this year each baby remembered had a name on a jigsaw piece with a candle on top.

The staff from N.I.C.U, the delivery suite, the forget-me-not rooms, Maternity wards and Spiritual, Pastoral, and Religious Care Service organise the service in their own time, the service started out in the chapel at Royal Stoke University Hospital but each year it has grown in size.

Liz Jennings, a Bereavement Specialist Midwife, said: “Making memories is invaluable to bereaved families and they really appreciate that support we give them. I think you’ve got to have a certain degree of passion to care for bereaved families, we aim to give the best care we can in such a devastating life changing situation. The feedback we receive from this service is always positive and most families return each year to remember their babies.”

Parents Sophie and Karl Latham said: “It was with apprehension that my husband and I attended our first memorial service to remember our baby, and we were so pleased we went. It was a special afternoon for the two of us to take time out to share with so many other families remembering and lighting a candle for each individual baby. Fittingly the theme was jigsaw pieces, a piece that is missing from your life that will never be forgotten.”

Parent Sam Jackson, who has attended the service twice, said: “I attended the memorial service in July, it was my 2nd year attending the service. It’s a beautiful way to remember our babies and celebrate their short lives. Everyone in the service is there for the same reason and it really helps to know we are not alone. The UHNM team that

On Sunday 8th September 2019 the Department of Renal Medicine held its 15th annual memorial service, on this occasion at St James’ Clayton, to commemorate the passing of long term patients under their care. The service was led by members of UHNM chaplaincy, Rev’s Leo Varquez giving the address and Alison Phillips accompanying hymns on the piano. Prayers and readings took opportunities to mark and celebrate lives passed and to note how love lasts beyond death and the address noted how people live on in the memories of those they leave behind irrespective of any personal faith they may have. As the names of those lost was read out by Helen Martin, Caroline Clark and Debbie Goldstraw lit a candle for each patient.