LONDON: Britain government has secretly ban face veils in Hospitals as ministers called for new guidelines to ensure all patients can have “face to face” contact with those who care for them, reported on Thursday.
According to the foreign media reports, the government has ordered a review of all health service policies on workers’ uniforms.
It will ask professional regulators to draw up clear rules so that communication with patients is always given priority over the right of a nurse or doctor to wear a veil.
The reports said 17 NHS hospitals across five NHS trusts which have already quietly instituted a ban on front line staff wearing the veil — a full veil which covers the face — while in contact with patients.
There are 160 NHS trusts in England. With no national guidance, the vast majority make no such ruling, leaving decisions to the discretion of local managers.
In some cases, uniform policies specifically state that the veil can be worn by front line staff for religious reasons.
Reportedly, the health minister has ordered a review of all current health care guidance on the issue and asked clinical regulators to draw up clear rules to ban the wearing of the face veil by health care staff while they are in contact with patients.
He said, “I am proud of the rich ethnic diversity of our health care workforce and support appropriate religious and cultural freedoms, but a vital part of good patient care is effective verbal and non-verbal communication”.
“Being unable to see a health care professional’s face can be a barrier to good and empathetic communication with patients and their families. That is why I am writing to all health care regulators to ask them to look into this matter and to review their professional regulations, to ensure that there is always appropriate face to face contact between health care professionals and their patients”.
Many of the hospitals which have introduced explicit restrictions are in parts of the country that have high Muslim populations, such as East London, and Bradford and Dewsbury in Yorkshire.