Doctor caused Muslim patient ‘significant anxiety’ by asking her to remove veil


Dr Keith Wolverson described the patient’s English as terrible

A doctor caused “significant anxiety” to a patient by asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil and showed “intolerance and contempt for patients”, a court has ruled.

Dr Keith Wolverson originally received the support of more than 133,000 people in a petition titled “Stop Dr Wolverson’s Firing” after he was reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2019.

On Monday, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing found that Dr Wolverson was “impaired through misconduct” after calling the patients’ ability to speak English “abysmal”, “grossly insufficient” and ” terrible”.

Over a period of four months in 2018, the doctor had written notes like this which read: “I explained this to my mother as best I could, but is it her duty to learn more? English…being here for five years and not being able to explain what’s wrong with your daughter is honestly not enough.

During the hearing, Dr Wolverson argued that he had asked a patient to remove her face covering at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Staffordshire because “she was difficult to understand because of her veil or of his strong accent.


But the court found that the patient did not speak poor English, that he had been ‘inconsiderate’ and that he ‘did not respect her dignity and privacy’.

The ‘determination of impairment’ made by the court read: ‘The application in these circumstances failed to treat (the patient) fairly and disregard her life choices and beliefs.

“Given the sensitivities, the Tribunal concluded that the public and the profession would expect such a request from a physician to be made only after careful consideration of the specific circumstances that exist at the time and after have concluded that there is a clear reason for making the request.

“In this case, Dr. Wolverson did not make such an assessment, and he made the request because it is his general practice to do so.

“It put his interests above those (of the patient) and therefore his actions were serious.

Archive photo of hospital ward staff

Archive photo of hospital ward staff

“The Tribunal found that the public and the profession would also view this conduct as serious and deplorable.

“The Tribunal therefore concluded that her actions in requiring (the patient) to remove her face veil in these particular circumstances constituted gross misconduct.”

Speaking about the 2019 incident, Dr Wolverson, from Derby, told the PA news agency he made the request ‘in the same way that I would ask a motorcyclist to remove a crash helmet’.

He said: “I am a little sad that the country has gone to depths like this.

“But it takes more than that to knock me off my perch.”

Commenting on the language used by Dr. Wolverson, the impairment determination continued: “By taking inappropriate notes, Dr. Wolverson had treated patients unfairly, disrespectfully and in a manner that did not warrant the trust of patients and of the public in doctors.

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“The Tribunal found that patients were likely to be shocked and upset to read the notes and that other practitioners would find Dr Wolverson’s conduct grave and deplorable.

“The Tribunal also noted that this was not a one-time entry made out of frustration.

“It was a common way of behaving towards certain types of patients over a period of several months.

“The Tribunal therefore found that Dr. Wolverson’s actions…constituted gross misconduct.”

The panel has yet to make a decision on what punishment Dr. Wolverson should receive.


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