A GP is facing the sack after being accused of discriminating against a Muslim woman after ‘asking her to remove her veil’ during a consultation.
The patient claimed Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, told her he could not hear her explain what was wrong with her child because she was speaking through her niqab.
The doctor of 23 years then ‘asked her to take it off’ while all three were sat in a consultation room at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
She then complained to hospital bosses half-an-hour later when her husband arrived to collect her and they subsequently reported him to the General Medical Council.
But Dr Wolverson said the claims were ‘outrageous’ and denied any discrimination, adding he was ‘just trying to do his job’.
Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, is accused of discrimination after alleging asking a female Muslim patient to remove her veil because he ‘could not hear her through her niqab’ during an appointment at Royal Stoke University Hospital, pictured
He told The Sun: ‘I found it difficult to understand what the woman was saying behind her veil, so politely asked her to remove it. I needed to hear what was wrong with her daughter, so I could offer the safest possible care.
‘I’m not racist. This is nothing to do with race, religion or skin colour – it’s about clarity of communication.’
Dr Wolverson said he fears the incident will ‘ruin him’ and that he has never faced any trouble before.
According to documents sent to the GMC, the woman claims she refused to remove the veil on religious grounds and said Dr Wolverson ‘would not continue the consultation unless she did’, adding he was ‘rude’ and left her feeling ‘victimised’.
The case has had a mixed reaction, with Mohammed Shaftq of the Ramadan Foundation describing the doctor’s actions as ‘offensive’, adding Dr Wolverson should have asked for help from a female member of staff.
But Joyce Robins, of the Patient Association, told The Sun it would be ‘criminal’ if he was sacked, adding: ‘A doctor needs to be sensitive to a patient’s religion but safety must always come first.’
GMC guidelines say doctors who wear veils should remove them if patients find them an ‘obstacle’, but there is no advice if the roles are reversed.