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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Bedside Bibles could be removed
Hospital bosses may remove Bibles from the bedsides of patients amid concerns over offending non-Christians and spreading the superbug, MRSA.

Leics-based Gideons International, which distributes Bibles, described the move as "outrageous".

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said it was committed to equality and religious diversity.

It is to meet on Friday to discuss whether the tradition should continue at the city's three main hospitals.

They say it's discriminating against people of other faiths. It's outrageous, political correctness gone mad
Iain Mair, Gideons
Gideons International's UK headquarters, which is based in the county, commissioned reports from medical consultants about the potential risk and found there was no danger.

Iain Mair, executive director at their Lutterworth base, said: "They are saying there's a potential MRSA risk, and we say that is nonsense.

"They also say it's discriminating against people of other faiths. It's outrageous, political correctness gone mad.

"We will put notes in the lockers which will say that, if a patient wants a book of another faith, these are the people they should contact."

He added: "I could show many letters received in our office expressing an appreciation for the testaments, which provided a source of comfort to people when they were receiving major surgery."

Religious texts

"I hope there's a sensible solution to this," said Mr Mair.

The trust confirmed that discussions were taking place between the Chaplaincy, Infection Control, service equality and volunteer services departments.

They are looking into whether religious texts will continue to be provided in patients' bedside lockers at Leicester General Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital.

But in a statement, the Trust added: "Discussions are still in the early stages, meaning no proposals have yet been put forward by staff and no final decision has yet been made on this issue.

"Regardless of the outcome of the discussions, patients can be reassured that religious texts will continue to be made available at the trust's three hospitals through the Chaplaincy."

A Trust spokeswoman confirmed concerns about the Bibles potentially contributing to the spread of MRSA and offending other faith groups would be discussed at the meeting.


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