NHS patients will controversially be offered a type of ‘New Age’ ‘spiritual healing’ as part of a £205,000 research project funded by the National Lottery.
In recent times some Christian nurses have been told not to wear a cross or pray with patients. Doctors have also faced investigation for discussing their faith.
But the spiritual healing therapy, which has New Age associations, has been recommended for a variety of acute and chronic conditions.
Practitioners pass their hands over the patient’s body to channel ‘healing energy’. The therapy appears to be based on an ancient Buddhist healing technique.
The project is being run by Freshwinds, an alternative therapy organisation, which is working in conjunction with Birmingham University and the NHS Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.
It is looking to recruit 200 patients with bowel conditions.
One patient at Good Hope said she had refused to join the trial. “The healing appeared to be based on the Buddhist spiritual practice of Reiki, which is ironic when Christian doctors and nurses are warned about praying for their patients.”
Earlier this year it emerged that a Christian GP who discussed his faith with a patient is facing disciplinary action and could even lose his job.
Dr Richard Scott, one of six Christian partners at Bethesda medical centre in Kent, insists that he only discussed how his faith in Jesus had helped him as part of a “consensual discussion between two adults” towards the end of a thorough consultation.
But the General Medical Council claims that by talking about Christianity Dr Scott distressed one of his patients, and risked bringing the medical profession into disrepute.
Dr Scott refused the official warning from the GMC, and now “fully expects” to face a public hearing.
In December 2008 Caroline Petrie, a Christian nurse in Somerset, was suspended by her NHS employers under ‘equality and diversity’ rules after she offered to pray for a patient. Mrs Petrie was reinstated the following February.