Doctor who asked mum to remove niqab says he’ll quit as he’s accused of racism

A GP accused of discriminating against a Muslim mum by asking her to remove her veil has claimed he will quit medicine.

Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, was working at Royal Stoke University Hospital clinic last June when he asked the mother to remove her niqab – a veil worn by some Muslim women that covers their face apart from the eyes.

Dr Wolverson said he asked her to do so when he, the mother, and her daughter were in the privacy of the hospital consulting room, as he had difficulty hearing the mum explain her daughter's symptoms.

She willingly agreed to the doctor's request, he added.

However, after the woman's husband arrived an hour later, she complained to hospital staff about the exchange.

The pair later wrote to the General Medical Council (GMC) to lodge a formal complaint.

Dr Wolverson received a letter last week from the GMC informing him that he would be subject to an inquiry over the couple's allegations of racial discrimination.

The probe could see him struck off the medical register as a result, despite having an unblemished record his 23 year long career.

The Daily Mail reports that Dr Wolverson will step down regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

"I feel a major injustice has taken place. I absolutely no longer want to be a doctor."

"This country will have no doctors left if we continue to treat them in this manner. I’m deeply upset.

"A doctor’s quest to perform the very finest consultation for the safety of the patient has been misinterpreted in a duplicitous manner to suggest there has been an act of racism committed."

The GP has insisted he was just trying to do his job properly during the consultation in question.

He said he "found it difficult to understand what the woman was saying behind her veil" and politely asked her to remove it as he "needed to hear what was wrong".

The doctor also insisted he is not racist and the incident is "nothing to do with race, religion or skin colour".

The furious GP said he has treated many Muslim patients and never had a problem when he "asked women to remove their veil".

According to the complaints received by GMC, the mother said she felt “victimised and racially discriminated” against during the consultation.

She said Dr Wolverson had demanded her to remove the veil, even though she refused to take it off due to religious reasons.

She claims the GP said he would not continue the consultation until she removed her niqab, saying he was "rude" and "gave her a dirty look".

Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation said Dr Wolverson’s action was “offensive”, and said that a female member of staff could have been asked to help on that occasion.

Speaking to the Sun Online, he said that any "stronger" sanction would be unfortunate, and insisted Dr Wolverson be put on a diversity awareness course to deter future incidents from happening again.

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said losing a doctor over such an incident would be “criminal”.

She told the Sun Online : “A doctor needs to be sensitive to a patient’s religion but safety must always come first.”

Human rights campaigner Aisha Ali-Khan tweeted her support for the embattled GP.

"I don't believe doctor should be prosecuted for doing his job *but* he should have asked for a female third party to help, or asked patient to write down her medical complaints," she posted.

In a second tweet, Ali-Khan said she would personally write to the GMC about the complaint.

"I truly hope Dr Keith Wolverson is not struck off by GMC- he did nothing wrong & was only doing his job. I will be writing a letter to GMC to that effect."

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