The NHS is more welcoming to gay clergy than the Church of England, new research on hospital chaplains suggests.
A study by the chaplaincy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust found higher than expected numbers of clergy in same-sex relationships working in the health service.
The research, which was based on a survey of more than 100 NHS chaplains but concentrated on responses from male respondents, also found they were more likely to feel valued and encouraged to develop their skills within NHS organisations.
The NHS was "often seen as a safe refuge" said the report, which is due to be published in the journal Practical Theology.
"For a substantial number, issues around human sexuality is a significant reason why some Church of England clergy have entered healthcare chaplaincy," it said.Gay clergy find a welcome in NHS chaplaincy
Health Service Journal, UK