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New rules NHS staff can refuse to treat racist or sexist patients.

(71 Posts)
Procrastinator2 Tue 18-Feb-20 17:22:37

Matt Hancock says "All assault and hate crimes against NHS staff must be investigated with care, compassion, diligence and commitment," he said.

I think this could probably be used to stop women requesting natal female health care professional.

OP’s posts: |
PreseaCombatir Tue 18-Feb-20 17:39:06

This is a slippery slopeI think.
What constitutes racist, or sexist? or transphobic

Although I absolutely agree that staff should not have to treat anyone who is abusive .

It’s a tough one.

(I’m also reminded of the greys anatomy episode where they specifically asked for a male doctor when Miranda was there, and when Richard turned up it turned out it was because he was racist, and they operated on a Nazi-tattooed chest)

fuckitywhy Tue 18-Feb-20 17:42:21

That seems problematic to me in so many ways.

Not only because how do you define "unworthy" (and all the totalitarian creepiness therein - as you say, it can be pushed to political opinions too), but because presumably because some of those "bad" people are still critical members of society or maybe mentally unwell and in most need of healthcare.

They say they won't be refused critical care but also cite ambulance crew abuse as a reason for doing this, so that seems to be at odds.

You can see the headlines now...

Mum of seven dies because NHS employee felt upset by them the day before.

Mum of seven dies because she called an NHS member a bad word during an autistic meltdown.

Mum of seven dies because she was accidentally registered as one of the unworthies by mistake.

And so on and so forth.

At the same time I agree that NHS staff don't deserve abuse of course. Wouldn't it be better to criminalise this sort of abusive behaviour and prosecute over it? (Also problematic.)

FrogsFrogs Tue 18-Feb-20 17:51:40

Is it sexist to ask for a same sex practitioner...

Avocadohips Tue 18-Feb-20 17:58:58

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

1forsorrow Tue 18-Feb-20 18:02:51

I was in hospital for an op, nothing major. Young woman in next bed seemed chatty and friendly. Drs came round for the pre op chat and check up and she suddenly shouted, "Take your dirty black hands off me." It wasn't pleasant and I wouldn't have blamed him if he'd said, "Fair enough keep your appendix."

ditavonteesed Tue 18-Feb-20 18:04:40

This won't be enforced, we treat patient who are abusive to us all the time.

PreseaCombatir Tue 18-Feb-20 18:29:41

When my nan was I’ll towards the end, she said some horrific things. Severe dementia. It’s not uncommon I don’t think, where would the line be?

Procrastinator2 Tue 18-Feb-20 18:45:30

I hope it is a stretch, but seeing what was classified as a hate incident by Humberside Police in the Harry Miller case and what happened to Clare Dimyon, I don't think it is sadly.

OP’s posts: |
Babdoc Tue 18-Feb-20 18:49:04

As a now retired hospital doctor I’ve been punched, kicked and sworn at by patients in the past. I didn’t refuse to treat any of them.
The only patient I ever refused was the arsonist who set my house on fire. He was brought to my operating theatre in chains and handcuffs by two prison officers, a year after his conviction and I recognised him.
I considered it wrong to anaesthetise him, as I didn’t think I could maintain professional courtesy towards someone who had endangered my children’s lives. I simply asked a colleague to take the case while I went for lunch.

Antibles Tue 18-Feb-20 18:51:16

But don't they have to treat a shot but still alive terrorist and suchlike?

Antibles Tue 18-Feb-20 18:54:06

Agree this might well be used to target 'transphobes' who refuse to admire the Emperor's New speculum.

ThinEndoftheWedge Tue 18-Feb-20 18:54:34


Yep - but that would be classed as emergency/trauma care.

Emergency Department staff get soo much shit. This won’t change anything. And yes - most will be fully sympathetic to the need to be seen by a biological woman and will accommodate - if on shift.

Languishingfemale Tue 18-Feb-20 19:06:57

I (just) have enough confidence that the NHS is generally staffed by compassionate and sensitive people and don't believe that it will be misused against women (and that's despite the antics of the dire Dr H)

Staff in A & E for example are on the receiving end of dreadful abuse and need this support.

Michelleoftheresistance Tue 18-Feb-20 19:08:25

This is already there in the 'if you behave like x in this department we'll call the police' warning message. As a professional you may end up pointing out that the only way x is getting done is if they stop doing y, but this will inevitably be abused with yet more 'taxpayers may be denied service for wrongthink'.

And it won't be some drunken yob bawling racist rubbish in casualty as he's waiting for stitches, or someone harassing or assaulting a female member of staff, because they've got the t shirt on that and will deal with it. They have it covered. That's what professionals do. With police back up if needed, as warned in clear signs in every nhs workplace.

This will be exploited to refuse service to some woman who has dared to ask for a female hcp. And if any hcp is not professional in their behaviour and is not able to understand needs and feelings of patients and to prioritise their patient's interests, they should be given training on professionality and not bringing their own issues to work as is expected of everyone else in that job, or facing competency procedures. There can't be special lower standards for special hcps.

Lucy2509 Tue 18-Feb-20 19:51:50

It probably is. Especially if that staff member has identified as the opposite sex. This screams transactivist witch hunt to me.

ThinEndoftheWedge Tue 18-Feb-20 19:58:13


This is an ongoing issue - NHS staff want this as an attempt to reduce epidemic staff abuse - so
at the moment I read it from that perspective.

Agreed it could be exploited as you suggest. Most clinical NHS staff are fully used to patients requesting a female clinical staff member - and most are still aware of biological differences... despite NHS ‘trans’ inclusion policy...

If a HCP insists, disregarding the patient - big red flag. Let’s watch closely at what happens....

Binterested Tue 18-Feb-20 20:04:01

Problem is though that the staff who are likely to claim protection under this rule are the ones whose egos depend on the validation of others.

I imagine many hard pressed staff are abused often by patients who are racist or sexist and most probably just put up with it and do the job, their professionalism seeing them through. But they are not seeking validation from others.

Lucy2509 Tue 18-Feb-20 20:07:06

That's allayed my concerns somewhat, so thank you ThinEndoftheWedge
This is somewhat hypocritical to me, as i work in a privately run care home (aren't they all now?), where I get physically and verbally attacked on a daily basis. So why is it only NHS staff that are allowed this priviledge?
Also, people that are sick are going to be stressed and raise their voices, maybe swear and generally be unpleasant.

CherryPavlova Tue 18-Feb-20 20:14:23

I think it’s absolutely right to afford staff protection from abuse. I think most understand that behaviours associated with dementia are distress rather than abuse.

The WRES means trusts and other providers of NHS care must take action to reduce discrimination and abuse. Why should rude or violent behaviour and hate crime be condoned? People will get fair warning. It’s only the persistent offenders who will be held to account.

It’s a good thing reset the behavioural norms.

Lucy2509 Tue 18-Feb-20 20:22:07

So only those employed under the NHS, should be protected?

GeordieTerf Tue 18-Feb-20 20:25:33

I have a lot of friends and family who work in health care. Every single one of them gets verbal abuse regularly. Most of them have been physically attached at some point. They should have the right to refuse treatment to such people.

Knobblybobbly Tue 18-Feb-20 20:37:08

I’ve had sexist behaviour from patients in the past.

“Are you my <job title>? I didn’t know women could be <job title>.” Patient then tuts and rolls eyes as if the world has gone completely insane. I treated him the exactly same as all my other patients, with complete apathy and disdain.


Mockersisrightasusual Tue 18-Feb-20 20:41:57

But what can you do with them?

There was one of them "Emergency 999" progs on last night, where an ambulance brought a violent drunk to an A&E from which he'd been barred for persistent offences. They agreed to treat him if he had his own personal security gurad.

Avocadohips Tue 18-Feb-20 21:03:39

Oh for goodness sake, I was clearly "quoting" a transphobic comment and stating that it would be unacceptable to say that to staff. Absolutely fair enough to delete my post if it looked like a thing I was saying or advocating but I very clearly stated that saying that would be unacceptable!!

I'm this close to being done with mn due to the ott moderation of trans subjects sad

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