Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The NHS Bombings

I was not going to post on this, at least not yet ... but the backlash has begun. I am appalled. Front Point Systems Limited in this post links to a Daily Mail piece commenting on the 6000 "Arab" doctors working for the NHS.

Even the BBC seems somewhat gleeful. But just as doctors are not in the job of checking their patients immigration status, it is not the job of the General Medical Council to check the political affiliations of doctors if these are not effecting their work. That is the job of the Home Office, Immigration and Nationality Directorate and the security services.

At least the Beeb reported
"NHS trusts are also required to carry out checks on doctors they employ. These include checking for GMC registration, identification, passport credentials and criminal records.

Sian Thomas, deputy director of NHS Employers, which represents health trusts, said she wanted to reassure the public there were "thorough and robust checks" in place.

But these tested "their merits to do the job they do", rather than for political or extremist affiliations.

Ms Thomas said the NHS did not see it as its job to be checking for such connections and that she did not think the vetting process should be changed to do this.

"While doing all they can to prevent unsuitable people taking up employment in the NHS, employers also have a duty to look after the rights of their staff and this includes not discriminating against employees in any way on the grounds of their religion or belief."

I can see what's coming next from the Loony Right - "No Muslims allowed to work in the NHS". Oh come on you can do better than that ... how about "No Muslims to be treated by the NHS"?

I am appalled.

Update Friday: Dr Crippen has posted on the NHS "terrorists" - an excellent post. However, the comments are generating much of the racist, fascist bigotry I predicted above. I should add to my predicted reactions above "I refuse to be treated by a brown doctor - s/he might be a Muslim trying to kill me".

And this reminds me not to make judgments on appearances: when Kezia was admitted to the RMCH, a small boy with ALL was also on the ward. His brown mother wore traditional Pakistani clothing and when his brown father came to visit the family would sit down and read together from an Arabic-script book. Turns out the book was an Urdu translation of the bible and that there is a thriving community of Pakistani-origin Catholics in Lancashire.

Over in the comments at NHS Blog Doctor ni gp reports "apparently local Police Constables have been touring GP surgeries in parts of England asking the receptionists if any of their GPs are religious extremists". I am appalled.

To quote the BMA Chairman "Overseas doctors have made an invaluable contribution to the NHS over the years and it would be dreadful if the trust that exists between patients and doctors, whatever their background, was harmed by these events".

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