Just last week, former Nurse Shirley Chaplin, lost her case for discrimination against Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Her claim came after she was asked to remove a crucifix from around her neck by her bosses, who claimed that it was a Health & Safety risk - both to herself and patients. She had worn this crucifix for over 30 years and not once had any problems with it. She even offered to sign a disclaimer, stating that she would wear it at her own risk, but bosses claimed that still didn't protect the patients. When she still refused to hide it and when she complained to more senior managers, she was put on a desk job. She then claimed religious discrimination.
Now, I could go into the arguments about the validity of her claim and the options she was offered, but that's for another day.......
The fact is; she was asked to remove the crucifix, which she refused to do due to her strict religious (Christian) beliefs, becuase of Health & Safety concerns. These concerns were:
A Patient may grab the crucifix and strangle her
A Patient may grab the crucifix and scratch/cut themselves which could lead to an infection.
Then, just 4 days later we have this;
Muslim doctors and nurses are to be allowed to opt out of strict hygiene rules introduced by the NHS to restrict the spread of hospital superbugs.
The Govt. & NHS have (understandably) been looking into how to reduce the number of patients who were falling ill, and even dying, from superbugs such as MRSA. They concluded that the most effective way was to have everyone wearing short sleeves and no jewellery and to have a 'clean hands' policy. In other words, washing and scrubbing your hands & forearms after treating each patient. But, Muslim female health workers complained about being forced to expose their arms. So, the rules have been rewritten to allow them to still wear long sleeves, (also Sikhs are allowed to still wear bangles).
MRSA Action UK, have rasied concerns over these changes and a spokesman for the Department of Health responded by saying:
"The (new) guidance is intended to provide direction to services in how they can
balance infection control measures with cultural beliefs without compromising patient safety."
which is a fair comment until you read about Shirley Chaplin and then ask yourself....
"How many people have died due to strangulation from a crucifix or from scratching themselves on a crucifix in a hospital?"
"How many people have died from MRSA?"
I can answer the second question.....