Health

Bid to save doctor who was ‘forced out’ over Muslim veil row | Daily Mail Online

More than 11,000 people have rallied behind a doctor under investigation for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil during an appointment. 

Supporters have signed an online petition in huge numbers demanding Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, keep his job to ‘protect his reputation’.

The petition also called on the General Medical Council (GMC) to ‘treat this man fairly and look at all the evidence’ after it was revealed a complaint had been made to them by the patient following the incident at Royal Stoke University Hospital.  

The doctor said he is unable to find work and is planning to quit medicine and retrain as a cosmetic practitioner.

Dr Wolverson claims the woman did not object when he ‘politely’ asked her to remove the face covering, adding he only asked because he was struggling to understand what she was saying about her sick daughter.

Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, said supporters have started a petition calling for him to be exonerated

More than 11,000 people have so far backed up the doctor after he was accused of racial discrimination by asking a Muslim woman to take off her veil because he could not hear her

But her husband later made a complaint and last week the locum GP was shocked to receive a letter from doctors’ regulator the General Medical Council. It said that he was being investigated over allegations of racial discrimination which could result in him being struck off.

The GMC said it never confirmed whether doctors were under investigation unless they were given conditions or suspended, neither of which has happened to Dr Wolverson at this stage. 

According to GMC guidelines, doctors are supposed to treat patients’ beliefs and religious dress ‘with respect’ and consider ‘any potential for distress, discomfort and feelings of vulnerability’ if asking a patient to expose part of their body.

Doctors are allowed to ask a Muslim woman to remove a veil if they feel they have no other option, but must continue as normal if she refuses or is in distress. 

Since the incident at a walk-in centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital last June Dr Wolverson has been unable to work there, and he now plans to walk away from medicine – despite an unblemished 23 years in general practice.

‘Unfortunately I’m not able to work at the moment as I’m a locum GP and no-one will employ you while you’re under investigation by the GMC,’ he said. ‘I feel I’ve been left with no alternative but to look at doing something else.

Since the incident at a walk-in centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital last June Dr Wolverson has been unable to work there, and he now plans to walk away from medicine – despite an unblemished 23 years in general practice

‘I’ve received a lot of messages of support since announcing my decision, which is a comfort. People have been almost unequivocal in backing me.’

The online petition was started yesterday and has hit more than 11,000 signatures in just 24 hours.

What are the GMC guidelines on religious dress? 

The GMC provides the following guidelines on how to deal with religious dress and beliefs. 

The Derbyshire GP said he was considering retraining to perform cosmetic procedures. 

Asked what he planned to do next, he said: ‘Probably cosmetic work, botox, things like that. I won’t need to be on the medical register in order to do them.’

Dr Wolverson told how the Muslim woman brought her daughter, aged ten or 11, to see him fearing she had tonsillitis. 

But he struggled to hear the mother’s account of the girl’s health problems because her speech was being obscured by her niqab – which covered her face apart from the eyes.

He said the mother complied with his request to remove her veil without raising any objections. 

But shortly afterwards her husband arrived and declared he was making a complaint about the GP’s behaviour.

According to the complaint against him, the woman is said to have told Dr Wolverson she did not want to remove the veil on religious grounds but he refused to continue the consultation unless she did. He denies this. 

Bid to save doctor who was ‘forced out’ over Muslim veil row

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