A Christian nurse from Weston-super-Mare has been suspended for offering to pray for a patient's recovery. Community nurse Caroline Petrie, 45, says she asked an elderly woman patient during a home visit if she wanted her to say a prayer for her. The patient complained to the health trust about Mrs Petrie who follows the Baptist faith.

She was suspended, without pay, on 17 December and will find out the outcome of her disciplinary meeting next week.

A spokesman for North Somerset Primary Care Trust said: "Caroline Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter. She is a bank nurse and has been told we will not be using her in this capacity until the outcome of our investigation is known.

"We always take any concerns raised by our patients most seriously and conscientiously investigate any matter of this nature brought to our attention. We are always keen to be respectful of our patients' views and sensitivity as well as those of our staff."

Mrs Petrie says that she has taken advice from the Christian Legal Centre, which aims to protect the religious freedom of people who follow the Christian faith.

UPDATE: The trust carried out an internal investigation and has issued a statement which said Mrs Petrie could keep her job.

It said: “It is acceptable to offer spiritual support as part of care when the patient asks for it. But for nurses, whose principal role is giving nursing care, the initiative lies with the patient and not the nurse.”

Last night Mrs Petrie said: “I am not sure what I think about this, I want to know what conditions there are to me coming back to work.”