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Hospital trust rejects Bible ban

  • 23 Comments

A ban on bedside Bibles considered by an hospital trust that feared the Christian holy books could spread germs has been rejected.

Bibles in bedside areas could pose a risk of cross-infection if not cleaned properly, according to research studied by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.

But the trust decided against banning the book in bedside lockers, opting instead to keep copies in holders and protective plastic covers that can be easily cleaned after each patient has used them.

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But on wards for patients with virulent infections, single use Bibles will be introduced.

The books will be disposed of and replaced with new ones after use by each patient in two wards and some side rooms.

Jenny Leggott, the trust’s director of nursing, said: “We have been speaking to our patients, staff and members of the public over the last few months to get their views on where Bibles should be kept on our wards.

“We always strive to find ways of improving safety and cleanliness at our hospitals.

“We therefore took the opportunity to review how our bedside areas are cleaned. This raised the question as to whether Bibles should continue to be kept in bedside lockers or available elsewhere on the ward.

“We have taken time over the last few weeks to ensure we understand everyone’s views on this important subject, demonstrating our respect of all needs and faiths.”

Most people would prefer Bibles to remain in bedside areas as they provide “an important and familiar source of comfort for patients during their stay in hospital”, she added.

But the hydrogen peroxide used to clean rooms where patients with infections such as Clostridium difficile are cared for is not effective on paper.

Ms Leggott said: “We will ensure that an additional supply of Bibles is available in these areas to they can be replenished as necessary.”

The decision to allow Bibles to remain in bedside lockers was welcomed by local churches.

Rev Karen Rooms of St Ann With Emmanuel Church in Nottingham suggested that spirituality was an important aspect of healing.

She said: “When people are ill the things that give them meaning and purpose and the spiritual aspect of people’s lives sometimes comes sharply into focus.

“Making that resource available to those who want it is to be welcomed.”

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Readers' comments (23)

  • tich x

    i am a practising christian & am passionate about spreading the word of God anywhere, anytime. however i dont understand the need for having bibles all over. in my trust priests go around meeting & greeting patients of all faiths... so surely if someone need a biblethey can ask & get one then. for me this is not infection or cost issue but a matter of not imposing our faiths on everyone. besides how many of our patients are practising christians anyway?

    whilst i should be applauding this being christian myself, my fear is that if i visit an Asian hospital i wouldnt be happy if a Koran was put next to me. churches wil def welcome the bedside bibles, & so would my Pastor/ Priest but i have never understood the point. almost all patients will say church of England on religion but how many actually are happy to hear about God?

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  • lets stop pussy footing around and remember that our English heritage is Christian.
    We bend over backwards to accommodate all faiths - except the very one this country was built on!

    We have a proud reputation in integrating all multicultural ideas and beliefs because that is what we have always done and are VERY proud to do it. Lets stop keep giving ourselves a hard time over the 'offending' business.
    A Muslim friend of mine said the other day, " You English are so soft, we can do anything we want to and get the result we want" He said it jokingly, but it did make me think.!!

    Infection control? well, I think there are considerably more bacteria on the curtains and door handles!


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  • It is a disgrace that NUH ever considered banning the bedside bible in the first place - in fact it was the uproar & total lack of consultaltion that led to the current policy described above. When people are ill a bible maybe the one thing that gives them comfort they should not have to ask for it.
    One thing we need to get right to continue improvements in infection control is to invest in more cleaning & get doctors (not All) to get their act together with hand hygiene.

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  • lets stop pussy footing around and remember that our English heritage is Christian.
    We bend over backwards to accommodate all faiths - except the very one this country was built on!

    We have a proud reputation in integrating all multicultural ideas and beliefs because that is what we have always done and are VERY proud to do it. Lets stop keep giving ourselves a hard time over the 'offending' business.
    A Muslim friend of mine said the other day, " You English are so soft, we can do anything we want to and get the result we want" He said it jokingly, but it did make me think.!!

    Infection control? well, I think there are considerably more bacteria on the curtains and door handles!


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  • What about magazines, newspapers, paperbacks?

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  • Has anyone ever swabbed those dangly labels we all wear ? Bet they grow some real goodies. This all smacks of health and safety and its ridiculous rules. A book that brings great comfort to many in times of need should be available and by all means put a plastic cover on it.

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  • Are borrowed hospital library books cleaned properly after each patient uses them?

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  • tich x

    its not anything to try & infringe 'our heritage'. im my few years of nursing experience, there are bibles tucked in the lockers & people ask to see Priests at times. However I ve never seen anyone reading a bible even though patients buy & read magazines & newspapers daily... . all i am asking is if these bibles actually serve a purpose anyway. from a christian point of view bibles are meant to be read rather than just display them.

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  • Anonymous | 4-Oct-2010 2:43 pm - actually our 'heritage' is only christian from a certain point in time and then only up to a certain and more recent point. Even then quite a lot of our ancestors were not bowled over by the 'good news' and firmly rejected it but had to do so in secret for fear of their lives careers or families.
    tich x | 4-Oct-2010 2:12 pm - just so you know Asian does not equal muslim. not happy to be in the same vicinity as a koran? you need to get out more and meet people, open your mind and park your prejudice for a while.
    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2010 2:43 pm - the 'faith' that this country of yours was apparently built on for you has a particulalry unchristian heritage, which I'm continually surprised at how glossed over it always is. The original heritage of this nation was burned and murdered by this 'faith' of yours, current issues aside. not something I'm happy to have imposed on me, thanks anyway for the invitation.

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  • If we go ahead and ban bibles perhaps we should also ban the disgusting magizines/newspapers and other printed material which are often lying about on the wards and waiting areas which pose a very high risk of infection!!!!!! Just another way of intolerance towards Christians in the UK.

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