Sunday, August 22, 2004

Article: Patients are denied the last rites under data protection law

I've heard of this happening in Canada, but it has not been widely reported on. The Telegraph has a very good article on the issues related to not providing patient religious affiliation info to hospital chaplains because of privacy concerns.

Patients are denied the last rites under data protection law

By Elizabeth Day
(Filed: 25/07/2004)

Thousands of terminally ill patients are being denied access to spiritual guidance from hospital chaplains because the Data Protection Act is being applied over-zealously.

The Hospital Chaplaincies Council has criticised several NHS Trusts for their "hysterical" refusal to disclose the religious backgrounds of their patients. The trusts claim that such information is "too sensitive" to share with chaplains.

Now many of Britain's 3,425 hospital chaplains are unable to offer spiritual succour - or perform the last rites in the case of Roman Catholics - unless patients ask to see a chaplain on admission to hospital. Chaplains are concerned that many patients going for routine check-ups will not give their consent and then be unable to change their mind should their medical condition deteriorate.

Read the rest of the extensive article here ...

From what I've heard informally, it'll be a lot worse for chaplains in Ontario once Bill 31 is implemented in November.

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