Views from the News
Stephen Baker, Manchester
NURSE WITH FORTY YEARS EXPERIENCE SACKED FOR SUGGESTING A PATIENT ‘GO TO CHURCH’ TO RELIEVE STRESS
A NHS Nurse with over forty years experience has been sacked after he suggested two ‘patients’ might go to church to relieve stress during a role play session on a training course.
Committed Christian, Anand Rao, aged 71, was taking part in simulated situations as part of an exercise in palliative care. He had elected to go on the training session and found his own grant funding to do so. The Christian, a bank staff nurse in hospitals run by the Leicester NHS Trust, advised two persons playing the roles of husband and wife patients they might like to try going to church to relieve stress. He has recently instructed the Christian Legal Centre to advise him and is considering taking legal action for religious discrimination against his former employer. Anand Rao says that he, and thousands of his former patients, will be staggered that someone who has given four decades to caring for people can be treated in the way he has. He feels the action by his employers is ‘heavy handed and disproportionate’.
In the simulated exercise Mr. Rao was involved in he was asked to advise the wife with a serious heart condition. In the exercise the trainers were looking to elicit how a nurse would deal with advising a patient about reducing stress through the patient’s sexual intimacy with her husband. Mr. Rao said, ‘Mrs. Jones [a made-up name] told me that her doctor had informed her that she would not live long and this had created stress. I advised her going to church might ease her anxiety and stress’. It is understood the woman ‘patient’ in the role play situation felt she did not receive sympathetic, suitable advice.
The course directors raised this concern with Rao and told him that they do not want him to talk about God. Subsequently, the course organizer, Leicestershire and Rutland Organization for the Relief of Suffering (LOROS), sent a report to his employer raising concerns over his performance.
Mr. Rao, who worked for the Leicester NHS Trust since May 2005, was initially suspended by his employer on the grounds that ‘concerns have been raised about your professional conduct by the course directors at LOROS’. The care worker did not attend a disciplinary hearing on 23 January 2009 when the allegations against him were being examined as he had not been given, despite several requests, a copy of the questions and answers from his training meeting. Mr. Rao had his contract terminated in a letter from his employers which addressed concerns about his behaviour at the training course.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of CLC commented, ‘How is it possible that a nurse who has served the public for forty years should find himself dismissed because in a training exercise he advised someone to go to church? To seek to censor and suppress this kind of language and belief is the first fruits of a closed society’.
Source: CLC 25/5/09.
ATHEIST BUS CAMPAIGN
For the past week, 25 buses from in Chicago have been bearing an unusual advertising slogan. The large ads read, ‘In the Beginning, Man Created God’, and they are scheduled to remain on the sides of the buses through June. They’re part of an effort by the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, with the help of the American Humanist Association. The board that runs South Bend’s city bus system recently agreed to allow ads on that city’s buses reading, ‘You can be good without God’. The group had hoped to have the ads installed on 20 South Bend buses before appearance at the University of Notre Dame last Sunday, but that move was delayed.
Bloomington, Indiana’s city bus service recently rejected similar ads, prompting a lawsuit.
Source: Chicago Tribune 23/5/09