Muslim women may wish to work while wearing a hijab or even a full facial veil. How can governments and hospitals avoid religious discrimination while ensuring that patients receive effectively communicated care? Karen Hebert discusses
- By: Karen Hebert
Widening participation has become the buzzword of medical education today. Governments, deans, doctors and students recognise that for far too long medicine has been a profession of middle and upper class men.1 To this end, the UK government pledged £9m ($16m; €14m) toward schemes that would encourage a wider range of young people into the healthcare professions.2
Clearly much is being done to make the medical profession a more diverse sector. But the situation is not so simple. We may be encouraging a more diverse profession, but are we tolerant of our resulting differences?
From 2 December 2003, it became unlawful to discriminate against workers because of religion or similar belief in the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland.2 The ruling also applies to providers of vocational training. So it would be direct discrimination for a medical school or NHS trust to reject an applicant on the basis of their religious