Caring for the Catholic Patient

'Caring for the Catholic Patient' is a 2006 statement of best practice for NHS managers and chaplains to ensure effective provision of religious and spiritual care.

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The experience of Catholic chaplains, and those of other denominations and other faiths, is that they each can function best when their own particular identity and understanding of the nature of chaplaincy is well understood. In that sense, this document is a contribution to the discussion.

‘Caring for the Catholic Patient’ covered the legal and policy changes that occurred within the NHS up until its publication in 2006. In 1992 the Department of Health issued ‘Guidance Document HSG (92)2 on Chaplaincy’. This was replaced in 1993 by ‘NHS Chaplaincy’. Also in 1993, representatives from Catholic chaplaincies collaborated with other chaplaincy colleagues, including the Hospital Chaplaincies Council, to develop a guidance document entitled ‘Health Care Chaplaincy Standards’.

This described the primary purpose of chaplains as ‘enabling individuals and groups in a healthcare setting to respond to spiritual and emotional needs, and to the experiences of life and death, illness and injury, in the context of a faith or belief system’.

The Catholic Church aims to achieve this through its training, support, supervision and appraisal of those engaged in healthcare chaplaincy to make them more effective. This statement seeks to clarify some key aspects of the legislation, policy context and theological background for Catholic chaplaincy by
outlining its management and development and the ways in which it seeks to work effectively within the NHS.

There are many resources to support this process. All of these have been drawn together following consultation with a range of stakeholders, including NHS bodies, healthcare professionals and Catholic healthcare chaplains.

By bringing together examples of good and not-so-good practice from different dioceses and hospitals, ‘Caring for the Catholic Patient’ sought to produce a statement of best practice for NHS managers and chaplains to ensure effective provision of religious and spiritual care.


Caring for the Catholic Patient


The Certificate in Catholic Healthcare Chaplaincy (CCHC) is a course offered by the Maryvale Institute providing formation for both clergy and lay people for chaplaincy roles in hospitals and other healthcare settings, as well as ministry to the sick in residential care and in their own homes.

It is a one year, part-time, distance-learning course. Three modules are studied over the year, with one compulsory residential study weekend at the start of the course providing practical workshops and training from experts in the field.

For more information, visit the Maryvale Institute website.