The National Secular Society has calculated the cash savings that can be made by the NHS, if it can just reduce the chaplaincy costs, and save about £18.5m a year. 227 trusts in England spend £29million on chaplains.
Importantly, the NHS must seek to narrow the differences in cost of hospital chaplains, more so the ones that do not value-add 'clinically' to patients.
NSS executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said: "If churches really support the Big Society, they will stop siphoning off NHS cash to fund chaplains."
The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England said: "It is widely accepted healthcare means caring for a whole person, not just the body."