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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

Miss Alison Phillips – Assistant Chaplain, part-time

Rev 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.

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 (2nd Sunday of the month)

A Dementia Friendly Service - Every 1st, 3rd & 4th Wednesday at 11am

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

UHNM’s ‘home from home’ room at County Hospital

Patients and families can benefit from a newly refurbished ‘home-from-home’ room at County Hospital, Stafford thanks to hospital charity funding.

The room has a homely feel and provides a safe and relaxing space for patients living with dementia or learning disabilities outside of a clinical setting. It has been set up through the collective efforts of the University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) Chaplaincy team and UHNM Charity.

The room was officially opened by Deputy Chief Nurse Scott Purser and David Trigg from Trigg engraving, who kindly donated a plaque for the room after experiencing the effects of dementia first-hand.  

Dave Trigg, owner of Trigg engraving, said: “We are honoured to be able to provide this plaque for the home-from-home room. I experienced dementia first-hand after losing my mum and dad in the last 18 months and I’m sure we have all been affected by this cruel disease at some point in our lives. The room is a credit to County Hospital.”

The room, which is located within the chapel, was designed with dementia patients in mind and will help patients with the transition of returning home after a hospital stay.

Revd Christine Wright, Head of Chaplaincy at UHNM, said: “The home-from-home room is a fantastic facility that has taken a year of careful planning, designing and remodelling. We are really delighted with how this space has been brought to life, with the help of the dementia liaison nurses. Patients are able to unwind, do a range of activities, talk to staff, carers and family members and experience a sense of peace.”

Scott Purser, Deputy Chief Nurse at UHNM, said: “I think the home-from-home room is a fabulous place for patients and staff to visit, as it is a safe place for them to spend time with family and friends or simply relax outside of a clinical environment. Thank you to UHNM Charity for supporting this initiative”


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.