Catholics in Health Care

Pager held by a healthcare professional

The Healthcare Reference Group was created in 2003 following a new initiative of the Bishops to give pastoral support to those working in healthcare in England and Wales.

It is part of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship and is chaired by Bishop Paul Mason.

Over the past three years the group has pursued a project to focus on social care in addition to healthcare but it has been decided that, in order to avoid duplication of work on social care already being undertaken by the Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN), the Department will again concentrate principally on healthcare.


The role of the Bishops’ Conference in the field of healthcare is to advise, consult and inform on key healthcare issues and a recent review of the Healthcare Reference Group’s work has shaped its future structure and mission.


Two groups will work together to assist the Bishops’ Conference fulfil its role with an informed and authentic voice:

  • A larger Healthcare Reference Group (HRG) and Network which will advise and inform the Bishops’ Conference Healthcare Executive Group.

This group will be drawn from people with a wide range of healthcare experience to offer advice on issues and give feedback and reactions. Communication will be through an email network and there are plans for an annual gathering as well as a monthly or quarterly email newsletter.

  • A smaller Healthcare Executive Group (HEG) will carry out the healthcare work mandated by the Bishops.

Currently the HEG comprises - Bishop Paul Mason (Bishop for Healthcare), Greg Pope (Assistant General Secretary), Steph MacGillivray (Research and Policy), Nina Azadeh (Executive Assistant), Gail Sainsbury (Mental Health Project), Jim McManus (Public Health England – external advisor), David A Jones (Director Anscombe Bioethics Centre – external advisor)


Three themes have been identified as areas in which the Bishops’ Conference has a valuable voice in the field of healthcare:

  • Policy: being involved in and reacting to issues. Proactively identifying priorities
  • Pilgrimage: supporting chaplaincy and healthcare workers’ vocations
  • Prophecy: giving voice

To support this work it is proposed that a healthcare website reflecting an ‘art of living well’ be developed. The website will broadly:

  •  Be the mechanism through which resources are delivered
  •  Signpost users towards other organisations, courses, conferences, retreats, etc. which they might find useful
  •  Have a ‘contact us’ functionality which enables users to contact the Bishops’ Conference healthcare team and join the Healthcare Network

If you would like to belong to the Healthcare Network please email: