The region's biggest hospital has agreed to stop using a Jehovah's Witness hymn as its hold music, after receiving a complaint saying it was inappropriate.

Until recently, the tune - It Means Their Life - was played to people waiting to be transferred after calling the switchboard at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

To the untrained ear, the instrumental arrangement seemed innocuous and carried little meaning.

Eastern Daily Press: The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Pic: Nick Butcher.

But for at least one caller, who recognised the tune, that was not the case.

The individual - who has asked to remain anonymous - claims it is inappropriate for a hospital to use the music, because of the religion's resistance to some medical practices, such as blood transfusions.

The caller said the music could encourage Jehovah's Witnesses, or those who have left the religion, to decline treatment they may need.

In a complaint to the hospital, the caller wrote: "Hearing this music will exert a subtle pressure on Jehovah's Witnesses who call, to give in to the pressure to refuse blood transfusion."

The refusal of Jehovah's Witnesses to accept such transfusions is one of the beliefs for which the religion is best known.

They believe the practice is explicitly banned by the Bible. However, believers do accept other medical treatment.

The hospital confirmed that It Means Their Life had been used as holding music for some time.

However, following the complaint it has ditched the tune.

An NNUH spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we have received a complaint about our on-hold telephone music.

"We recognise that this has caused genuine distress to a caller and we have changed the music.”

The hymns have been replaced by Mozart's immediately recognisable Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Jehovah's Witnesses and healthcare

There is a common misconception that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in medicine or medical treatment.

But this is not the case. Their resistance is specifically to treatments involving blood.

They believe that the Old and New Testaments contain commandments to abstain from blood. 

They consider that God views blood as representing life, so do not accept transfusions, in respect for him as the giver of life.