Baroness and former political prisoner to address Catholic Medical Assocation

Are Catholic values compatible for our modern health system? Distinguished Catholic politician Baroness Julia Cumberlege and former political prisoner Dr Sheila Cassidy who was tortured in Chile are among the high profile figures addressing the issue at the Catholic Medical Association's national Conference in Bristol on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April.

Bristol GP Dr Phil McCarthy from the Bristol branch of the Catholic Medical Association, said:

"How should Catholics involved in healthcare approach ethical issues? Can the Church's social teaching help us survive NHS reorganisation? What is distinctive about a faith based approach to health? Where can we build alliances with others of different faiths and none? Does spirituality sustain our working lives? These are some of the issues to be discussed at the inaugural national conference of the Catholic Medical Association here in Bristol.

"We've secured a top line-up of speakers for the conference. Baroness Cumberlege is well known as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health - a position she held from 1992 to 1997. She has contributed a great deal to the NHS and is recognised for her involvement in the Church's important work in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. Her speech promises to provide a rare insight into the running of our health service on a national level.

"Other speakers include Professor David Jones, Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University College; Professor Neil Scolding, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Bristol; Charles Wookey of the Catholic Bishops' Conference; and Jane O'Brien of the General Medical Council.

"Dr Sheila Cassidy is a palliative care physician and author. She will be talking about vocation in the twenty-first century. She's a former political prisoner. In the 1970s she was locked up and tortured by the Chilean regime because she gave medical care to their political opponents. She's written about her experiences in several books and currently works in Plymouth."

All those involved in healthcare are welcome to attend the conference which takes place at the Novotel on Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6HY on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April. Further details and booking information from

Archbishop Peter Smith, Chairman of the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops' Conference said:

"The Catholic Bishops' Conference warmly welcomes the inauguration of the Catholic Medical Association. This is an excellent initiative which brings together Catholics who work in a variety of areas of healthcare. I hope this will give much better support to Catholics in their professional work in the health service. Its aims will complement very well the work that we have been doing through our Healthcare Reference Group and we look forward to working together in the future."

For further information see:

Tags: Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Dr Sheila Cassidy

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.