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Hospital trust rejects Bible ban

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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  • tich x

    Anonymous | 5-Oct-2010 11:54 pm i think you are probably over analysing minor issues. Yes not everyone in Asia will be Muslim but what % are we talking about? in the same way christians will tell you you might be in church every Sunday but that doesnt mean you are Christian. as a matter of fact i have Asian friends who are Christians in 'our' church but we i was generalising & that doesnt affect the main points. in case you werent aware just because i wouldnt read the Koran doesnt mean i hate Asians/ Muslims. In contary even in the bible for instance it says show love to your neighbour/ everyone. its nothing to do with prejudice or anything... How many Muslims flip through the bible? its just that in faith & religion there are just no compromises.

    so i agree with your last line...
    i still believe we should encourage the Priests to continue to see inpatients. they provide a very good service esp considering other patients have no visitors at all. but i am not convinced bedside bibles serve any purpose other than being a matter of tradition.

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  • Providing bibles for all patients is a total waste of NHS resourses. If patients are Christian they can either bring in their own bible or ask to see the hospital priests.

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  • tich x | 7-Oct-2010 11:02 am, I notice you criticise me for your lack of clarity and misunderstanding. I also notice that my suggesting you harbour a prejudice results in your defence as not hating all muslims and some of your friends are in fact asian.
    Most Muslims know a great deal more about jesus than christians do as the heritage is a shared one. I think your last comment does religion no favours whatsoever. Religion doesn't do compromise if the people of the religion refuse but it is not a necessity, it is a choice. All spiritual faiths have the central philosophy of oneness, love and compassion, it is the people that disagree.

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  • Anonymous | 7-Oct-2010 7:25 pm
    All spiritual faiths have the central philosophy of oneness, love and compassion, it is the people that disagree.

    Couldn't agree with you more.

    I myself am not christian although I was brought up as one and have converted to another religion and must point out that although not muslim I have read the quran and found it rather interesting for what it does say and would advise anyone to have a read.

    I also agree with Tich as the bible should be read and not left in the lockers. I have read the bible to patients who were dying and expressed a wish for it to be read to them, mind you also have done this with poetry and novels depending on what the patient wants. That really is the point of all this it is what the patients wants and not for us to dictate to them. I couldn't care less which religious book (or not) that they want to read as long as they find it comforting because in the end it does me no harm.

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  • whatever next - haven't got any work to do. are there really any grounds for all these sob stories about staff shortages when one is so preoccupied with such trivialities

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  • Anonymous | 8-Oct-2010 12:08 pm... there are staff shortages yes, but maybe you should log on to the right forum & leave this one for some of us who have an interest in the topic.

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  • Steve Williams

    The doctor came in stinking of gin
    And proceeded to lie on the table
    He said Rocky you met your match
    And Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch
    And I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able.

    Now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
    Only to find Gideon's bible
    Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
    To help with good Rocky's revival.

    Honestly - what a senseless waste of baby ions on our screens. Nothing more important to whine about gals?

    No wonder the government can effectively freeze your pay whilst you think this stuff is important - IT'S NOT!

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  • Anonymous | 8-Oct-2010 4:14 pm

    Anonymous | 8-Oct-2010 12:08 pm... there are staff shortages yes, but maybe you should log on to the right forum & leave this one for some of us who have an interest in the topic.

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    What do you know?

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  • our Christian heritage is being eroded day by day. With Gideon's bible by patient's beds, why has there been all the controversy about staff wearing a cross and chain. Can we put infection control aside here, although that was the issue..as previous threads have said, there is so much more reading material around that hasn't been challenged...yet at least!

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  • couldn't patients provide their own Bibles, Torahs or Korans if they feel the need?

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