Male nurse of 40 years is sacked for saying patients could benefit from going to church – in a training session

By David Wilkes
Last updated at 12:46 AM on 26th May 2009

Anand Rao, 71, claims he has been sacked for suggesting a visit to a church during a training exercise.

A nurse has been sacked after suggesting a ‘patient’ could go to church to relieve stress during a role play session on a training course.

Anand Rao, 71, a committed Christian, was taking part in an exercise to see if he would advise a wife with a serious heart condition about how to reduce stress.

Mr Rao, who has 40 years nursing experience, 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 called on my spiritual point of view and told her it would be wise to go to church to ease her stress and if God wished she might live a little longer.’

It is understood the ‘patient’ did not feel his advice was sympathetic or suitable. The course directors raised this concern with Mr Rao and told him that they do not want him to talk about God.

The course organiser, Leicestershire and Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering (LOROS), then sent a report to Mr Rao’s employer, Leicester NHS Trust, where he has worked as a bank staff nurse for four years.

He was later dismissed for breaching the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) code of conduct on respecting a patient’s dignity.

Married Mr Rao, of Leicester, is considering taking legal action for religious discrimination against his former employers and has instructed the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) to advise him.

Today, the father of one, who moved to Britain from Pendra, a small town in central India, 40 years ago, told of his upset at the ‘heavy handed and disproportionate’ way he has been treated.

‘In my view, my advice was in the best interests of the patient. I believed this was the right thing to do,’ he said.

‘This should not be seen as offensive. The NHS should not discriminate against Christian nurses who suggest to non objecting patients that going to church might relieve stress.’

His case will add to fears in the Christian community that they are becoming the most discriminated against people in society.

Earlier this year community nurse Caroline Petrie was suspended for an alleged breach of the NMC code of conduct on equality and diversity by offering to say a prayer for a patient in Somerset.

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