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New lead chaplain for hospital

14 December 2017


The James Paget has a new lead chaplain.
The Reverend Dr Alan Palmer has been out and about meeting staff around the hospital since his arrival earlier in December. He is keen to support patients, their families and staff in his new role.

Alan started his career in a parish near Bury St Edmunds and since then has served 23 years as a minister in the UK, Canada and Belgium, working in Vancouver and serving an international ex-pat community in Belgium which included 26 different nationalities.
He has combined his parish duties with teaching and training at universities and schools, and researching and authoring publications. He moved into working with the NHS at Ipswich Hospital, where he was deputy lead chaplain until recently.

Starting at the James Paget has been a return home – or at least a reduction in his regular commute – as he lives in Lowestoft.

Alan says; “I’ve been travelling back and forth from Ipswich, and between Belgium and Canada, on a regular basis over the past few years, so having one base is going to be good. I want to see a modern professional chaplaincy that fits the needs of the hospital and to ensure our service is as up-to-date and as relevant as possible – being multi-disciplinary and supportive. I want to develop the staff–focussed side of the role. Both to provide resilience training for staff and to be available for anyone who wants to talk confidentially one to one. I will be going around the various wards and departments in the hospital so people can get to know me and can speak to me if they wish to.”

He is currently also working on a research paper on compassion and connective leadership, looking at different models of leadership and the psychological aspects of compassion.

Director of Nursing Julia Hunt said; “We are delighted to welcome Alan, who is already pro-actively going around the hospital to talk to patients, staff and visitors about his role. The chapel and chaplaincy service is available to all, so you are encouraged to talk to Alan and his team as they can offer support and a listening ear.”