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Religion in hospitals - docs want to chat about god

(119 Posts)
LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 28-Jun-09 11:25:48


This has really surprised me and is not something I would be at all happy about. I don't want the people who are caring for me when I am ill wittering on about god and my spiritual wellbeing. I am an athiest. I do not want my midwife asking if she can pray for me for example hmm

My hospital has a chaplain and a prayer room - you can ask for people of whatever religion to come and see to you if you want to talk spiritual stuff. Why on earth would you want your nurse or doctor chatting on uninvited?

I also notice they talk about Christianity - but many staff in hospitals are muslim, jewish, buddhist, well all creeds and faiths are covered. My mum even worked in theatre with a jehovahs witness!

So naturally if the christians can spread the word on the words all the other religions could too...

This sounds like a dreadful idea - there is already provision for those who want it, why give free rein to all and sundry to bring it up all the time? A lot of religions have a tihng which says their followers should spread the word or convert others - the more fervent people wouldn't be able to help themselves would they? And they have the best audience in the world - a captive audience who may be facing their own mortality.

Any thoughts? Anyone think this is a good idea?

monkeytrousers Sun 28-Jun-09 11:57:42

Absoultely not! There are hospital chaplains for this.

There are already doctors in the NHS who can't refuse, but can defer you to another doctor if you are asking for an abortion if they don't 'believe' in it - and also doctors refusing to treat homosexual patients.

A big NO from me!

nellie12 Sun 28-Jun-09 12:01:54

definitely no from me too. It is a personal choice and if I want to discuss spirituality I will talk to a priest - not a doctor when I'm trying to take in what has been said.

Think its certain doctors trying to return to paternalistic healthcare (wonders if these are the ones who talk about special medicines..)

monkeytrousers Sun 28-Jun-09 12:04:45

ihavenosecrets Sun 28-Jun-09 12:08:36

They ought to make up their minds. I remember not so long ago a nurse was suspended for telling a patient that she would pray for them. Doctors are not there to discuss religion and anyway they barely have time to discuss the medical details of a patients condition. hmm

monkeytrousers Sun 28-Jun-09 12:10:31 ciety-needs-protection-gays.html

onagar Sun 28-Jun-09 13:05:52

If there are any doctors reading this let me make my position clear. If you try and take advantage of someone sick or dying to push your religion I won't debate and quibble over your right to do so. I will just hit you with a chair until you stop.

wrinklytum Sun 28-Jun-09 13:23:19

Tbh I don't think it would be a priority in your average doctors treatment plan.

I am an atheist so would be a bit narked by it.

Having said that dds paed,who is a very lovely man,quite often talks about God.I have no idea what religion he is but he often says "God will look after you all" at the end of his consults (Last time we saw him dp was quite poorly and the docs spent 5 mins of dds consult listening to dps woes,not really part of his job).He is such a lovely man that I would feel a bit of a miserable cow saying I didn't believe in God!

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 28-Jun-09 14:08:48

Message withdrawn

fatslag Sun 28-Jun-09 14:18:18

I get sooooooooooo p*ed off about this sort of thing. People want to believe in Father Christmas, FINE. BUT DON'T BEAT ME OVER THE HEAD WITH IT. Particularly if I'm ill. Keep your f'ing superstitious cr*p to yourself.


LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 28-Jun-09 14:23:46

Talked about this with my DH (who does believe in something but doesn't do organised religion, but his parents do) and he flat out could not understand why I would go mental if someone working in a professional medical capacity told me they would pray for me.

He seemed to think it was on a par to saying "all the best" or good luck or something.

Just goes to show you don't have to be a religious nut to think some really odd things are "harmless".

MT your first link reminded me of something at the GPs a few years ago. I went in for the pill and the doc did the blood pressure etc and printed the prescription but then had to take it for a colleague to sign as her religious beliefs prevented her from doing it. All delivered in a quite superior manner with undertones of "you dirty little slapper".

I told my dad (GP) and he was livid and said it should not be allowed. His view is that doctors are not there to make judgements about their patients choices, they are there to treat them. He also thought that people shouldn't be able to opt out of performning abortions - if you don't want to do it then go into a different branch of medicine.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jun-09 14:30:04

i would find this inappropriate and wouldn't hesitate to state this and then request a switch of physician because i don't want to be cared for by someone who allows his or her personal life to interfere with their professional life (unless he/she is an RE teacher or vicar or that).

bigstripeytiger Sun 28-Jun-09 14:32:24

Its incorrect for news organisations to suggest that this is the view of the medical profession as a whole.

This story comes from a motion due to be raised at the BMA Annual meeting next week.

You can see it here:

It is motion number 368, on page 51.

You only have to look at the other motions that have been suggested to set this 'news' into context. It will be voted on at the AGM, Isuppose we will see then if it is passed or not.

alexpolismum Sun 28-Jun-09 14:33:50

MT - I was quite shocked by your link about Muslim medical students refusing to study certain things. I have never heard anything like this before. Have they no human compassion? And patients suffering from sexually transmitted diseases might not be promiscuous in any way, but could be totally monogamous and have caught the disease from an unfaithful partner, for example.

I don't think I would be happy with the idea that there could be doctors who have not studied the full curriculum and might not recognise the signs/ symptoms of certain diseases. Where does one draw the line? Should non-smoking doctors refuse to treat smoker patients? It's ridiculous.

Religion has no place in medicine. A dcotor has to treat people from all walks of life, and all different creeds. If they are not happy with that, then they are in the wrong profession.

squilly Sun 28-Jun-09 14:39:30

Slightly different, but my GP runs a Christian practise where all the staff are religious. It states so clearly on the walls, not shoving it down your throats, just stating this is a christian practise. There's also a small plaque devoting the place to the glory of God near the reception area.

You don't like it? You find another doctors. There's several in the close area but funnily enough, this one is very busy.

I find my GP compassionate, understanding and frankly a bloody briliant doctor. He always explains what's wrong with us fully and is always understanding of things like depression or exhaustion.

I'm not religious myself, but he has offered to pray for me once when I was having a really shit time (after my second miscarriage). He knew how much we wanted kids and was always very kind about it. I think he's possibly the best doctor in the world.

So...though I understand it's not what you'd necessarily want throwing at you when you're dealing with the sickness of a loved one, and particularly coming from a stranger, I like my GP just the way he is. And I'd be sad if someone said he couldn't be up front abuot his religion any more. It's clearly really important to him.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jun-09 14:47:53

what if you wanted, say, an abortion or morning-after-pill, squilly?

would they just send you somewhere else?

what if you wanted, say, the copper coil (considered an abortificant by many Christians)?

sweetnitanitro Sun 28-Jun-09 14:49:02

I spent a week in hospital last year and it was crap. I was bloody miserable and wanted to go home and I think someone bringing up religion would have tipped me over the edge. I shouldn't have to worry about people harping on about their religion when I'm stuck in bed and can't escape.

I think religious support should be available for those that want it though but from a chaplain, not a doctor. And those that haven't requested it should be left well alone.

monkeytrousers Sun 28-Jun-09 14:54:01

"This weekend, however, it emerged that Sainsbury’s is also allowing its Muslim pharmacists to refuse to sell the morning-after pill to customers. At a Sainsbury’s store in Nottingham, a pharmacist named Ahmed declined to provide the pill to a female reporter posing as a customer. A colleague explained to her that Ahmed did not sell the pill for “ethical reasons”. Boots also permits pharmacists to refuse to sell the pill on ethical grounds"

alexpolismum Sun 28-Jun-09 15:02:55

MT - I think that's terrible and would automatically make me want to take my custom elsewhere if I didn't already live too far away to visit either Sainsbury's or Boots. What happens when the colleague is off sick and Ahmed is there by himself?

squilly Sun 28-Jun-09 15:04:14

expat, one doc in the practise is catholic and will not get involved in these areas, but he is never in the surgery alone, iykwim. There's always an alternative doctor if you're looking to discuss contraception based issues and whenever I've rung and the catholic doctor is on duty I've been asked if the appointment is about family planning.

I've never had a problem with contraception of any kind, the morning after pill or anything else. They have always supported all forms of contraception.

Isn't it just catholics who object to the coil/abortion/morning after pill? Or at least mostly catholics? I may be wrong but my own GP has never had a problem here.

thegirlwiththecurl Sun 28-Jun-09 15:11:59

hi - just wanted to present a slightly different view. Firstly not all christians are homophobic, shove-it-down your throat people who refuse people emergency contraception etc. I am a practising christian and a nurse - a sexual health and contraceptive nurse. I know many other health care professionals who, like me, believe that their role is to provide the best care for the patient - looking a what the patient wants and needs for their life. I would never just start talking about my faith to a patient without them bringing it up in some way, but if they did bring it up and have questions, then I would like to be able to tralk to them provided that it didn't interefer with my professional relationship with them. Whilst some 'professionals' may wish to shove it down unwilling people's throats, many more are happy to live their faith through service.

thegirlwiththecurl Sun 28-Jun-09 15:16:34

sorry - just to add, and if, once invited into a discussion with a patient, it would be nice to feel that my job is not under threat as a result. So, as far as this piece of 'news' goes - if it actually did come to something, I don't think it will actually change the way most would practice and for those who do abuse their position, as now, there are ways to deal with it through the professional bodies - and it should be dealt with. As long as respect for the patient is maintained, then there surely is no problem. I personally think this is over-sensationalised reporting designed to have a go at those amongst us who have a faith (as you have done on here)

LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 28-Jun-09 15:30:46

No-one isa saying that healthcare professionals shouldn't have a faith, girlwiththecurl. Just that their faith should not interfere with their ability to do all aspects of their job, or be raised with patients who do not wish to discuss it.

squilly I have been thinking about your surgery. What if you lived in a very muslim area and all the practices were muslim and you were an athiest? You wouldn't be able to use them. Ditto if you were in an area where all the practices were christian and you were a hindu, or jewish, or whathaveyou.

The NHS is supposed to be open to all eligible people but that would effectively close the service off to loads of people. Especially those who couldn't drive to the one non religious practice miles away and so on.

I know you will say but yours is only one, and people can go somewhere else, but its the principle. People should not be denied a service as taxpayers because they do not adhere to a particular creed or superstition.

It all reminds me of the whole faith schools thing, and that despite merrily paying my taxes for years my DD will not be able to attend a primary school in walking distance because they are all faith schools.

Do we really want the NHS being divided along reigious lines, with some people not being able to access services at all? I would very much hope not.

alexpolismum Sun 28-Jun-09 15:35:34

LovelyTinOfSpam - I agree with you completely.

I do not drive, and if my local pratices (those within walking distance) were all faith based, I would effectively be denied a service.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jun-09 15:54:41

'Isn't it just catholics who object to the coil/abortion/morning after pill? Or at least mostly catholics? I may be wrong but my own GP has never had a problem here.'

No, not all. Many of any faith who believe that life begins at conception have issues with copper coil, abortion and MAP, as evinced by MT's link regarding a Muslim pharmacist who does not wish to hand out MAP.

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