Here to offer spiritual, religious and pastoral advice help and support to all who need and request it.

Illness of any kind can be a very worrying and isolating experience to have to face – both for patients and their family.

They may find themselves feeling different emotions and any number of thoughts and questions may be going through their mind.

Working in such an environment can also be difficult at times for staff.

Chaplains are available across all hospital sites to support patients, families and staff.

Further information and resources are available on the Trust Loop – Nursing & User Experience – Chaplaincy Service

Chaplaincy Service: Listening, Caring, Praying (

What We Do

Chaplains visit hospital wards regularly and have time to listen and reflect. They are interested in people’s journey and seek to support the hospital community by their presence and prayers. The service we offer is confidential and non-judgmental and is available to everyone within the hospital community. Chaplains make several thousand patient visits in the Belfast Trust hospitals each month.

Chaplains are also available to:

  • Offer Christian prayer and sacramental ministry
  • Make contact with patients’ own faith communities/belief groups if requested
  • Offer regular times of worship on the hospital sites
  • Support staff and students in their work

As part of our educational remit, chaplains provide input to staff induction and are available to support nurse and medical education as requested. Supervised clinical placements and fieldwork opportunities are provided for students of ministry, and hospital visits and seminars are provided for other theological, medical and nursing students. Chaplains are also expected to continue in professional and vocational development.

As well as offering support for patients and their families/carers, chaplains are available for staff. Chaplains are also involved in wider Trust groups, such as bereavement support, palliative care, staff health and wellbeing, domestic abuse support, site forums, good relations, patient/family support, mediation, Trust helplines and staff debriefs.


Making use of the Chaplaincy Service

The Chaplains are based in each hospital site. If people under the care of Belfast Trust in the community wish to talk with a chaplain we can put them in touch with their local faith community/belief group for support. We are also available, as far as possible, to offer support to staff in the community.

Patient Religious Beliefs

It is vital that during the hospital admissions process patients should be asked their denomination/religious affiliation/belief group & if they agree to a chaplaincy visit. This information should then be appropriately recorded (on PAS) and passed on to the appropriate chaplain, who will visit as part of the regular ward rounds. Even if a patient does not declare any particular religious affiliation it should not be assumed they will have no spiritual or pastoral needs. The services of chaplains should also be offered in these situations, where appropriate. If a patient or family wishes the chaplain to visit at another time, they should ask a member of the nursing staff to make contact. Chaplains may also take referrals from clergy, family members, other healthcare staff, etc…

Chaplains are not permitted to pass on patient information to a third party without permission from the patient/family.


In the acute hospitals, the Belfast City Hospital, Mater and Royal, there are chaplains on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week to provide pastoral, sacramental and prayer support in times of emergency and urgent need. Ward staff can contact the chaplain on call through Switchboard. Chaplains on the non-acute sites may respond to emergency calls but are not deemed to be on-call 24/7.

Prayer & Worship

Regular opportunities for prayer and worship are provided in the hospitals. In some hospitals the chaplains are supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who are available to assist patients in attending church services.

Multi-Cultural and Beliefs Information

Different cultures, faiths and belief groups have a variety of views on life, health, ill health, birth, dying and death. We need to be aware of such diversity. The person receiving care or the family are best placed to advise about any matters to take note of.

Staff can often find themselves caring for those who come from a different faith, belief group or cultural background to themselves. In these situations the chaplaincy service can offer additional support. The chaplains hold a comprehensive list of contacts for local church communities and representatives of other faith communities/belief groups and are happy to make contact when requested. There are also chaplaincy volunteers for Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim patients and non-religious pastoral support volunteers for Humanist/non-religious patients.

There is a multi-faith training programme available through e-learning.

Staff may feel free to contact any of the chaplaincy team directly for further information.

Alternatively you can Download the multi-Cultural Beliefs Handbook.

Contact Details

Rev Derek Johnston
Lead Chaplain Belfast HSC Trust,
1st Floor, East Wing, Royal Victoria Hospital,
Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BA

Telephone:  (028) 9615 2562

If you wish to make contact with chaplains on particular sites please contact switchboard or as below:

Services Across the Trust

  • Services at Belfast City Hospital
    • Services of Worship in the Hospital Church (A Floor, Tower Block). It is open 24 hours per day for private prayer and reflection.
    • United Church Service Sunday at 9.30am (and other times by arrangement)
    • Celebration of Mass Sunday at 8.15am & 11.15am • Holydays: As notified (Weekdays by arrangement)
    • Services of Worship in the Cancer Centre Quiet Room (Level One). It is open 24 hours a day.
    • Wednesday at 2.00pm Celebration of Mass (fortnightly)
  • Services at Knockbracken Healthcare Park

    Religious Services are held each Sunday in the Healthcare Park Church.9:00am Interdenominational service

    • 10:00am Catholic Communion service.
  • Services at The Mater Hospital

    Religious Services are available every Sunday in the Chapel.

    • Masses are held on Sundays at 8.10 am.
    • Interdenominational Church Service – At present there are no Sunday services.
  • Services at Muckamore Abbey Hospital
    • An Interdenominational Service is conducted each Sunday at 9:30am by a rota of chaplains.
    • Celebration of Mass is conducted each Saturday at 10:00am.
    • Other special services are arranged throughout the year, including Harvest and Christmas.
  • Services at Musgrave Park Hospital
    • Regular services are held in the Hospital Church. It is open every day from 9.00am to 5.00pm.
    • There is a celebration of Mass every Sunday at 8.15am and Holy Days & Feast Days at 1.15pm or as arranged.
    • There is a united service every Sunday at 10.00am.
    • The chaplains arrange special services as the need arises.
  • Services at The Royal Hospitals

    The Hospital Quiet Room in the front foyer, RVH, near the shop, is open every day from morning until evening for private prayer and reflection. It is available for all faiths and none.

    • Christian Prayer Time – Each Thursday from 12:30-1:15pm in Hospital Quiet Room
    • Muslim Friday Prayers – 1.30-2.30pm (Winter 1-2.00pm) in Hospital Quiet Room The Hospital Chapel on the Victorian corridor is also open every day from morning until evening.
    • Interdenominational Church Service – At present there are no Sunday services.
    • Celebration of Mass – Sundays at 8:10am & 10:00am in the Hospital Chapel (Feast days as arranged).

    Other prayers, sacraments and services as arranged. Further information can be found on the Chaplaincy noticeboard outside the Hospital Quiet Room or Chapel.

    The Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital and Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children have Quiet Room facilities which can be used when a baby or child dies. Ward staff can give further details.