Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Islamic NHS

The NHS just tells a Muslim dentist not to discriminate, rather than penalize him in any way for doing so. Will it be different this time? Unlikely. Muslims must be treated as if they are made of spun glass. I predict a token fine which will change nothing

A Muslim dentist refused to treat patients unless they wore traditional Islamic dress, it was alleged today. Omer Butt, 32, ordered women to put on head scarves or he would not register them or their families at his NHS-funded clinic, it was claimed. At least two patients were left in pain after they declined to follow his self-imposed rules, the General Dental Council heard.

It is the second time that the dentist - who is the brother of a former spokesman of the radical Islamic group al-Muhajiroun - has appeared before the council's disciplinary panel on similar allegations. Two years ago he was reprimanded for telling an Asian mother-of-two he would not register her unless she wore the Muslim hijab. The GDC heard how Butt believed it was his duty to stop Muslim patients committing what he believed was Al-Kaba'ir, a religious sin. He even put a laminated sign on the wall of his waiting room telling patients they would have to adhere to his strict dress code or find another dentist.

John Snell, for the GDC, said: 'He sought to impose a dress code on patients attending his practice. 'He required that women cover their hair with a head scarf, or hijab, and that male patients remove any gold jewellery. 'If he had simply expressed a preference, without imposing any compulsion to adhere to this dress code, there may be no cause for complaint. 'However, he insisted - and those who did not comply were refused treatment. 'He made compliance with Islamic dress code a condition of treatment, which is entirely inappropriate under the auspices of the National Health Service. 'Patients should have access to NHS treatment regardless of their religious observance, or otherwise.'

One patient, referred to only as Mrs F, told how she went with her husband and three children to register as patients at the Unsworth Smile Clinic, in Bury, Lancashire, in 2006. While they were waiting to be seen, Butt called her husband into an office and told him he would have to tell his wife to wear a head scarf or the family would not be seen. They promptly left and made a formal complaint to the NHS.

Mrs F told the panel: 'I was extremely annoyed. It's my choice if I wear a Hijab or not. But he told my husband he wouldn't treat any of us until I did. 'He even offered to provide one for me to use, but I didn't want to wear it. I shouldn't have to wear it to get treatment. 'I had great pain in my tooth at the time, but I wasn't going to stand for that so we left.'

Another patient and her family had to leave the clinic in June 2007 because she would not wear the religious headdress after spending a year looking for a dentist in the area, the hearing was told. The woman's husband, known as Mr C, was also called into a private room at the surgery where Butt asked him to impose a dress code on his wife. His wife said: 'My husband came out and he looked quite angry and his face was red. He said 'let's go'. 'He shouldn't say to me that he can't treat me unless I wear the hijab. He said he could provide one for us, but I didn't want to wear one. I was in pain that day.'

Butt, of Prestwich, Manchester, denies charges of misconduct for his treatment of two patients at the clinic. If found guilty he faces being removed the dental register. In September 2007 Butt was formally reprimanded by the GDC for similar behaviour and found guilty of serious professional misconduct.


Australia: Cairns base hospital under fire again

This is a major hospital, serving a geographical area about the size of Britain. But nobody in government gives a hoot: "Just routine" is the attitude

BODIES at a Queensland Health mortuary were left with gaping wounds after autopsies, stored with medical equipment attached and allowed to decompose. Funeral directors have told of the unsavoury practices and raised a litany of other concerns over the treatment of bodies at the Cairns Hospital mortuary.

Queensland Health is investigating the complaints and the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been alerted, The Courier-Mail reports.

In letters to senior Queensland Health bureaucrats, the Queensland Funeral Directors' Association said its members' complaints about poor practices at the mortuary had fallen on deaf ears for years. "We have tried over the years to try to resolve some of the concerns but now we have received formal complaints and concerns and we now write to you hoping that some progress can be made," QFDA secretary Wayne Bell wrote.

Funeral directors said it was common for bodies to continue to bleed after autopsies because they were packed with plastic incontinence sheeting and roughly stitched up with wax string. They said bodies from the Cairns Hospital mortuary "frequently" had catheters, drains and IV access equipment attached to them, from which blood and body fluids continued to drain. Body bags were often re-used and poor controls were in place to prevent the spread of diseases, including cleaning with the general purpose product Spray N Wipe.

"I have witnessed a number of body trays that have blood and body fluids on them when presented for placement of bodies we are delivering for coronial investigation," a letter from one funeral director said.

Health Minister Paul Lucas yesterday said he expected the issues raised by funeral directors to be taken seriously.

In a statement, Queensland Health clinical and statewide services acting chief executive officer Greg Shaw said a preliminary report had found work practices were "generally satisfactory" and found no evidence of "major problems". "However, like all audits it includes suggestions for improvements," he said.


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