By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

CANTERBURY, UK, February 3, 2009 ( – Caroline Petrie, a nurse in Weston-super-Mare, 142 miles west of London, and a committed Christian, has been suspended and faces disciplinary action because she offered to pray for an elderly patient during a home visit.

Mrs. Petrie, who works for the North Somerset Primary Care Trust providing in-home care for the elderly, asked the patient if she would like a prayer said for her after she had changed the dressings on the woman’s legs.

“It was around lunchtime and I had spent about 20 to 25 minutes with her,” the nurse said in a Telegraph report. “I had applied dressings to her legs and shortly before I left I said to her: ‘Would you like me to pray for you?’”

The patient declined the offer but later contacted the Trust about the incident.

Mrs. Petrie said in a BBC interview: “The woman mentioned it to the sister who did her dressing the following day. She said that she wasn’t offended but was concerned that someone else might be.

“I was spoken to by my manager. She said ‘I’ve got a letter in one hand and an incident form in the other. You won’t be able to work until we’ve investigated this incident’.”

“I simply couldn’t believe that I have been suspended over this,” she told the Telegraph. “I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. All I am trying to do is help my patients, many of whom want me to pray for them.”

A statement by the North Somerset Primary Care Trust ( said, “Caroline Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.

“She is a bank nurse and has been told we will not be using her in this capacity until the outcome of our investigation is known.

“We are keenly aware of religious sensitivities and the importance of everyone’s individual spiritual belief – patients as well as staff,” however, “The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Conduct makes it clear that nurses “must not use [their] professional status to promote causes that are not related to health.”

To express your concern or opinion please contact:

North Somerset Primary Care Trust
Waverley House
Old Church Road
North Somerset
BS21 6NN  UK
Phone: 01275 546770
Fax: 01275 546769
Email: [email protected]