NHS doctor tells Iain Dale of shocking racist abuse from patients

19 February 2020, 10:07

This doctor told Iain Dale about the shocking racist abuse he'd received from patients and responded to the new NHS ruling that staff can refuse to treat sexist or racist patients.

This caller said of the new ruling that doctors should make a "judgement call" depending on the patients' condition; equally, he said, the patient may be talking this way because they are unwell and may act in a way they normally would not.

Sam was a junior doctor in 2004 and shared an incident of racist abuse that he experienced.

"The patient became abuse and swore and then said a racist remark beginning with p," he said, sharing that the patient didn't want to be seen by him.

"The nurse I could see was visibly shocked. It took me by surprise as well because obviously I'd been working in the NHS for about 4 or 5 years and it was probably the first time that had happened.

"I could see from the end of the bed that the patient wasn't well so I tried to block out what had been said at that time and went to attend the patient even though she wasn't happy about that," said Sam, "as doctors we do face dilemmas like that all the time."

Despite the patient not wanting him to treat her, "It's one of those things that you have to weigh up: can I go ahead and do this even though the patient has explicitly said for me not to approach her because of the colour of my skin."

Sam said racism not only comes from patients but from colleagues as well. He found that to progress in the NHS was "much more difficult" if you weren't caucasian, when he graduated back in 2000, but insisted this has changed.

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