GP who asked Muslim woman to remove her veil is found guilty of misconduct and could be struck off


A doctor could be disbarred after being found guilty of misconduct for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil and criticizing patients for their English skills.

Dr Keith Wolverson was severely reprimanded by a medical tribunal for his behavior, which took place during an appointment at Royal Stoke University Hospital in 2018.

The GP claimed he asked the woman, known as Ms Q, to lift her veil so he could see her lips to better understand what she was saying, although she said she was not didn’t want.

This was followed by an email sent to colleagues in which Dr Wolverson, who also runs a medical clinic in Melbourne, Derbyshire, criticized the patient’s ability to speak English.

A Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal Service (MTPS) panel said that if there were any situations where it would be appropriate to ask a patient to remove their veil, this was not one of them.

The panel also said Dr Wolverson took “inappropriate” notes on his patients’ ability to speak English and that his command of the language was good.

He ruled he was guilty of serious misconduct and will decide later this year what his sentence will be, with options such as a suspension or his removal from the medical register available.

Dr Keith Wolverson (pictured) could be struck off after a medical tribunal found him guilty of misconduct for asking a Muslim woman to lift her veil during an appointment

When contacted by Derbyshire Live in response to the outcome of the latest hearing, Dr Wolverson promised to continue treating his patients, despite telling the Mail on Sunday in 2019 that he would be quitting medicine.

Dr Wolverson, who worked as a GP for more than 25 years and had a previously spotless record, had faced 28 allegations of misconduct – 16 of which related to the appointment with Ms Q.

A total of 17 were found proven, including 13 relating to the veil incident, which occurred on May 13, 2018.

During a consultation with Ms Q, Dr Wolverson asked her to remove her veil as he claimed he could not understand her and hoped seeing the movements of her mouth would help.

The doctor was criticized for his behavior during the appointment which took place at the Royal Stoke University Hospital (pictured)

The doctor was criticized for his behavior during the appointment which took place at the Royal Stoke University Hospital (pictured)

He repeated the request despite her saying she did not want to remove the veil for religious reasons, the panel found.

In an email dated May 25, 2018, in response to a complaint from the patient, Dr Wolverson said she “spoke poor English” and that he “struggled to understand her” and was “trying to look the movements of his mouth to facilitate communication”. ‘.

It was also discovered that Dr Wolverson had refused to speak to Ms Q’s husband despite his attempts to contact the doctor, which Dr Wolverson later claimed because he “found his manner aggressive and intimidating”.

But the MPTS ruled in early March that Dr Wolverson changed his testimony during the proceedings, as he tried to suggest he had instead asked for the veil to be removed due to Ms Q’s heavy accent in Stoke-on -Trent.

The court said that when Ms Q came to testify, they had no problem understanding her.

The General Medical Council, which took the case against Dr Wolverson to the MPTS, has no specific guidelines on how to examine women wearing the full veil.

Duncan Toole, Presiding Judge, said “there would of course be circumstances where it would be entirely appropriate”, it was found that Dr Wolverson “made no attempt to assess whether the removal of the face veil was necessary and if it served any purpose”.

In the decision, Mr Toole said: ‘The court found little evidence that Dr Wolverson had given any thought to the impact the words he used in the email might have had on Ms Q.

A medical tribunal ruled that Dr Wolverson's comments about his patients' ability to speak English were 'inappropriate'

A medical tribunal ruled that Dr Wolverson’s comments about his patients’ ability to speak English were ‘inappropriate’

‘For example, there was no acknowledgment or reflection on how upsetting and offensive it might have been for Ms Q to be described as speaking ‘poor English’ when she did not.

“This was particularly the case when Dr Wolverson was in a position of trust and her description followed a complaint she had made.

“The thoughtful statement focused more on the impact on Dr Wolverson’s privacy than the impact on Ms Q.

“This lack of reflection was concerning and demonstrated that Dr Wolverson had very little information about his conduct.”

Some of the allegations related to his work at Derby Urgent Care Center while others dated back to when he worked at Royal Stoke, both as a locum or temporary doctor. Dr. Wolverson graduated as a medical professional in 1996.

At a hearing from February 24 to March 4, 2022, Dr Wolverson was found to have criticized the English language abilities of 15 patients in their medical notes from January to April 2018.

In some of the notes he said it was ‘not acceptable’ for a patient to bring a family member to a consultation who did not speak English and said it was ‘honestly not good enough’ when he spoke of the mother in the language of another patient. aptitude.

Dr Wolverson previously told the Mail on Sunday that he planned to quit medicine following the investigation into his behavior

Dr Wolverson previously told the Mail on Sunday that he planned to quit medicine following the investigation into his behavior

Dr Wolverson will find out his sanction at a hearing scheduled for October 12-14.

Derbyshire Live spoke briefly with Dr Wolverson, from the Derby Private Doctors aesthetic clinic in the Derbyshire village of Melbourne.

He declined the opportunity to tell his side of the story and said he would continue to treat patients.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday in 2019, Dr Wolverson said he was considering quitting medicine amid the investigation into his conduct at the appointment.

He claimed he had ‘politely’ asked the woman to remove the garment for patient safety reasons during a consultation last year, as he had not been able to hear her explain the symptoms of her sick daughter.

He said he was “deeply upset” when told about the investigation and was disappointed with the medicine.

He said: “I think a major injustice has taken place. That’s why you wait so long to see your GP and doctors are leaving in droves. This country will have no more doctors if we continue to treat them this way. I am deeply upset.

“A doctor’s quest to perform the best consultation for patient safety has been misinterpreted in a misleading way to suggest an act of racism has taken place. I absolutely don’t want to be a doctor anymore.


Comments are closed.