From the Rectory
March 2009

There has been very considerable illness in the Parish this winter, due in some part to the very cold weather that we have all experienced. I cannot remember having to visit so many sick people, either at home or in hospital. Indeed, I have been such a regular at the hospital this winter, that following the Revd. Karen MacKinnon's sermon recently, when she asked if anyone would like to do voluntary work at the hospital, I offered my services as an Honorary Chaplain. I was invited to a Volunteers Induction Day and was staggered to learn the following facts about the Southampton Hospital Trust and its work.

Southampton General Hospital services some 500,000 people living in Southampton and South West Hampshire, providing specialist services such as neuro-sciences, cardiac services and children's intensive care to more than 3,000,000 people in central southern England and the Channel Islands. It is a major centre for teaching and research in association with the University of Southampton and partners including the Medical Research Council, Welcome Trust and Cancer Research Campaign.

The hospital treats more than 115,000 inpatients and day patients, including around 40,000 emergency admissions each year. It also sees 350,000 people at outpatient's appointments and deals with around 85,000 cases in the Emergency Department. The Trust's annual budget is nearly 300,000,000 (more than 800,000 per day). It costs 49,000 per hour and employs around 8,000 people and makes use of 800 volunteers. It has 1011 beds for inpatients, with 257 at Princess Anne Hospital and 25 at Countess Mountbatten House.

If, as a patient you have ever been kept waiting for an appointment or your notes have gone astray perhaps this in some way explains why errors or delays occur. If you would like to be a volunteer, and the range of duties is very wide there is a fluorescent sheet with details at the back of the Church or you can telephone 02380 794 688. Please think about it, it is necessary and vital work.

Healing is part of the Christian's calling and ministry. Christ's own healing among the people gives us a good example of how we should respond to those in need. Many years ago I did voluntary work at Countess Mountbatten House and as a Curate whilst in Maybush helped to provide emergency cover in the General Hospital. It is an area of ministry that has always interested me and, the icing on the cake, I'll get a car parking permit! I hope not to see any of you when I'm there. Stay safe and healthy, that's how I like you to be. Remember the staff, and volunteers in your prayers, they will appreciate that.

Yours for Christ's sake.