Thursday, 21 August 2008

Introduction to Caring for the Pagan Patient

The first NHS guide to Paganism was written in 1992 and although Pagan practice and the needs of Pagans in hospital hasn’t altered in the intervening years, my experience of working in a secure psychiatric environment has brought new insights into that speciality. What has changed is hospital practice. Paganism is much more widely recognised and understood, patient rights are taken more seriously and more health care staff are themselves Pagan.

Paganism has become a mainstream religion and continues to grow at a steady pace. In Britain it’s recognised by the NHS, the Home Office and Prison Service, interfaith groups, the Church of England, the Trade union Congress and any other mainstream organisation that has knowingly come into contact with Pagans.

Equality and human rights play a vital part in the work of the Department of Health. Every member of society is likely, at some point, to be a recipient of health and social care. DH welcomes diversity in society, acknowledging that experiences, aspirations and needs are also diverse.

This applies equally to minority groups, those who have been traditionally excluded and to those whose voices are seldom heard by the health and social care system.
Department of Health 2008

The Department of Health have a number of working groups to oversee the functioning of the Human Rights Act 2000. The article that covers religion is

'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion'.

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