Royal Stoke doctor who ‘forced Muslim woman to remove veil’ faces disbarment


A doctor accused of inappropriately asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil is at risk of being disbarred after criticizing patients’ lack of English skills.

Dr Keith Wolverson criticized the language ability of 15 patients in their medical notes from January to April 2018.

And he is also accused of asking a woman to remove her niqab during an appointment at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

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The doctor, who had been practicing medicine for more than 20 years, now faces a court to decide whether he can continue as a medical professional.

The Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service (MPTS) is investigating allegations that he commented on the language skills of other patients, was dishonest about the way he cared for those in hospital and failed to protect a baby seven-month-old who was a patient, among other complaints.

The General Medical Council has no specific guidelines on how to examine women wearing the full veil, DerbyshireLive Reports.

Comments that Dr. Wolverson wrote on the patient notes included:

To Patient A: “I don’t understand a word these parents are saying!!! They need to learn better English!!”

To patient B: “Frequented by her grandmother who didn’t speak English…Not acceptable at all!”

To patient E: “Mother has been here since [sic] 5 years old and does not speak English. I explained this to Mother as best we could, but it is her duty to learn more ENGLISH… BEING HERE FOR 5 YEARS AND NOT BEING ABLE TO EXPLAIN WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HER DAUGHTER , IS, FRANKLY, NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

To patient N: “A 10-year-old child was translating here…this is completely unacceptable.”

The court hearing over Dr Wolverson, who now works at a private botox clinic in Derbyshire, is being held in Manchester and is due to end on Friday March 4.

The MPTS website, which lists courts across the country, said: “The court will investigate the allegation that on one or more occasions between January and April 2018, Dr Wolverson recorded inappropriate comments about skills in English in the medical records of several patients.

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“It is also alleged that on March 22, 2018, he failed to take appropriate steps to protect a child and failed to record his actions regarding that child.

“It is alleged that on May 13, 2018, Dr. Wolverson caused a patient to remove her veil, spoke to her in a hostile and/or intimidating manner and refused to communicate with her husband.

“During an interview on the matters set out above, it is alleged that Dr. Wolverson made other inappropriate comments about patients and provided false information about his actions.”

StokeonTrentLive reported in 2019 that the allegations saw Dr Wolverson, who graduated as a doctor in 1996, fired by health company Vocare from his work at Royal Stoke.

But in a 2019 interview, Dr Wolverson said he had asked the patient to remove her veil “in the same way that I would ask a motorcyclist to remove a crash helmet” and added that although he was allowed to return to the NHS, he would be unlikely to do so.

During this time, a Petition in support of Dr. Wolverson attracted more than 133,000 signatures before it closed.

The GMC offers no specific guidance on how doctors should care for women wearing full-face veils – although medical staff are obliged to remove them if a patient requests it.

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However, in a statement, the body told StokeonTrentLive: “Our guidance makes it clear that we expect to treat patients’ beliefs and choice of religious dress with respect.

“If, after exhausting all possible communication approaches, a doctor cannot safely provide care without seeing a woman’s face, he can sensitively explore whether she would be willing to remove her mask.

“If this causes him distress, the doctor will have to continue with other channels of communication.

“If a doctor follows this advice and treats patients with politeness, honesty and sensitivity, they have nothing to fear from being referred to the GMC.”

The tribunal’s findings will be published within 28 days of its conclusion.

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