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British Nurse Suspended For Offering Prayers For Patient

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | Tag Cloud

Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent

LONDON, UK (Worthy News) -- A major British health trust on Tuesday, February 3, defended its decision to suspend a nurse for offering to pray for an elderly patient.

North Somerset Primary Care Trust (NSPCT) said it had suspended Caroline Petrie, a Christian mother of two from the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare, in December.

"There are grounds for wondering whether the nurse’s sincere faith convictions about the efficacy of intercessory prayer are more strongly held than her commitment to a pattern of practice consistent with her professional role," the NSPCT said in a statement monitored by Worthy News.

The 45-year-old is now awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary hearing which
could lead to her permanent dismissal.


The incident which led to her suspension apparently happened at the home of a woman patient in the town of Winscombe, in the area of North Somerset.
"It was around lunchtime and I had spent about 20 to 25 minutes with her.
I had applied dressings to her legs and shortly before I left I said to her: 'Would you like me to pray for you?,'" Petrie told British media.

"She said 'No, thank you.' And I said: 'OK.' I only offered to pray for her because I was concerned about her welfare and wanted her to get better," the nurse said.

However following the December 15 incident she was contacted by the trust
and asked to explain her actions as the female patient, who is believed to be
in her late 70s, reportedly complained to the trust.

The NSPCT suggested that Petrie had violated the trust's guidelines. "It is not acceptable within the code to project personal beliefs unless invited to do so by patients and families, however, we are keenly aware of religious sensitivities and the importance of everyone’s individual spiritual belief – patients as well as staff."


Petrie said however that she often offers to pray for her patients and that many take her up on it. She either prays with them or after she has left their home. The nurse said she has been a committed Christian since she was ten – after her mother died of breast cancer.

Initially, she was Church of England but she switched to the Baptist faith nine years ago. "My faith is very important to me," she told British media. An atheist group on Tuesday, February 3, backed the decision to suspend the nurse.

In a statement the National Secular Society (NSS) said it was inappropriate for health workers to "evangelize". "Medical practitioners are, quite rightly, not to be permitted to offer religious services to patients," said NSS Executive Director Keith Porteous-Wood.

The case has underscored concerns among some churches and advocacy groups about the growing influence of atheists and pressure on Christian workers. Last year, a British Airways worker has lost her case for religious discrimination over wearing a cross to work.


Nadia Eweida, 56, took BA to an employment tribunal claiming it effectively
discriminated against Christians because they were not allowed to wear religious jewelery while Muslims were allowed to wear hijabs and Sikhs bangles.

The airline, which meanwhile changed its policy to allow crosses on chains over work clothes amid controversy over the case, said its clothing policy did not discriminate against Christians.

Church groups have expressed concerns about what they view as attempts to in Britain to keep God out of society. A Russian television producer has said he is therefore launching a "There is God" advertising campaign in London to counter atheist posters displayed on buses in January.

Posters reading "There is God. Don't Worry. Enjoy your life!" will appear on
London buses in March, said Alexander Korobko, the head of the London-based Russian Hour satellite TV channel in published comments.

A campaign organized by the British Humanist Association (BHA), which reportedly raised 140,000 pounds ($200,000) instead of the planned 5,500, put slogans reading "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" on 800 buses.

Ahead of the campaign, supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, Christian students are reportedly taking part in freely distributing some 400,000 copies of Mark’s Gospel, the second book in the Bible's New Testament, "to get students thinking about God."

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Worthy Christian News » Christian » British Nurse Suspended For Offering Prayers For Patient

10 thoughts on “British Nurse Suspended For Offering Prayers For Patient

    • We heard about the growing ethesm and hinduism in England. We are sorry to note that the Sister met a faith assination attempt and she could stand firm and not given up. These are the last days. Satan uses his aids to defend for him and encounter with the true Christians. He will not be tolorated to see Christians witness and try to persecute them. But be couragious sister, the Lord will not leave you alone. When one door is closed, the Lord will open you a greater door with a high reward of posting than the present one. Our God is so big, so strong and so Mighty. Let us do not give up. Be strong till the end of life. We do pray for England and for the Church's victory over the growingHinduism and etheism.

    • Recently there was a big splash in the newspapers in the UK about a nurse offering to pray for a patient being suspended by her NHS employer.

      I read the articles, and there was a huge wave of public support for here the world over, but nobody thought to respect the privacy and dignity of the patients that she looked after, nor of her colleagues, nor of the diversity of a multicultural country, where many people practice different faiths.

      Can you imagine a terminal (dying) patient being told by a nurse that they will not go to heaven, unless they say a prayer with the nurse?

      Reinstating this woman who prayed was a mistake, and I believe that the powers that be, and you the public do not understand the pandora's box that you have opened.

      By profession I am a nurse practitioner and only today had to ask an evangelistic nurse to stop giving out tracts at work - the lady replied to me that I could not stop her, and poured out the biblical quotes.

      I am quite convinced that she has been brainwashed - and what of these churches that encourage her and legions of people like her? I am sure that they are after the 10% tithe, and even will go down to stating that the woman in the temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, gave everything that she had!

      I can just see their pastor telling them if you want to see miracles in your life, give - give to the church - give more and you will be blessed, won't you?

      ...and that is why many of those ministers in these big churches live in big houses, drive big cars and are rich........

  1. Shocking! Who's rights were trampled on? Unbelievable that a woman could be fired for offering to pray and that the NSS would equate that to "evangelizing." I suspect that if she had been offered a crystal, a good luck charm or a little meditation, Mrs. Petrie would still have her job today. I don't know the UK law but in the USA our constitution says the government can "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" to protect her citizens against historical abuse and guarantee free expression of faith. This health trust is probably private, but I hope that the state will come to her rescue to stop this kind of blatant abuse. Should our health providers become sterile robots and not even talk about patient's children, current events or personal concerns? "Just close your mouth and change my bandages." Sadly, I think soon there would be no one left to change bandages (or mend hearts.)

    • It's like that here in America in some spots as well. It's a global issue and just another sign for us to pay attention to.

  2. blessed are those who are persecuted...to all christians, keep fighting the good fight and do not grow weary in your good works; for we are called to be "salt", a light to all nations...jesus said that we are not greater than our master, if they persecuted him, they will also persecute us. but, take heart in this my fellow brothers and sisters, Jesus is in the midst of our persecution and every trial that we face in our lives. he said that he would never leave us nor forsake us...God is faithfull, he holds his promises...in my last words, do not fear what man can do (ie persecute us), but rather fear God who is able to destroy both the body and the soul

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Worthy Christian News » Christian » British Nurse Suspended For Offering Prayers For Patient