Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hospital patients and data protection

Background briefing: to combat a long-standing scandal, Scottish Bishops are petitioning the Scottish Executive and Westminster to allow hospital chaplains access to information about the desire of patients for the Sacraments.

From CFNews: Pressure from the Catholic Church could force the Government to look again at the way the Data Protection Act is used in practice, after the issue was raised with the Scottish Executive. A working party, under the control of Bishop Vincent Logan, has been looking into the issue for the better part of a year, concerned that many Catholic patients in hospitals up and down the country are being denied their Last Rites. Under the Act , patients' personal details are not allowed to be passed on to hospital chaplains without the patients' consent, meaning that many seriously injured or ill patient's, unable to physically give consent due to the seriousness of their injuries, could be denied the attentions of a priest during their hour of need. 'A change in the law is clearly needed as the current law clearly causes difficulties,' said Scottish Catholic Media Office Director Peter Kearney. 'At present using data protection rules, once the religion of a patient has been recorded it cant divulged to non employees. 'What we would like to see is an official list of religious representatives that could be given access to this information. ' Following the campaign from the Church, politicians in Scotland have now signed a petition demanding changes to the Data Protection Act, and are also encouraging politicians in Westminster to look again at the way the Data Protection Act is implemented in the nation's hospitals.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen