A FAMILY doctor facing the sack for asking a Muslim woman to lift her veil said he would “rather a snake babysit his daughter” than be advise by medical chiefs.
Dr Keith Wolverson, 52, is set to be investigated by GP watchdog the General Medical Council (GMC) over claims he "discriminated" against the woman.
But Dr Wolverson, a medic for 23 years with an unblemished record, now faces being hauled in front of a disciplinary panel over the incident.
But the GMC probe itself could take a year – leaving his reputation and career in tatters.
He was offered support by the GMC but Dr Wolverson took it as an insult.
'I'D RATHER A RATTLESNAKE BABYSIT'
The GP told the Daily Mail: 'The documents included an advice leaflet. It offered free counselling.
“I tore it up and threw it in the bin. I would rather a rattlesnake babysit for my six-year-old daughter than be advised by the GMC.”
Dr Wolverson is now planning to fight the allegations with 59,000 people signing an online petition calling for his job to be saved.
I would rather a rattlesnake babysit for my six-year-old daughter than be advised by the GMCDr Keith Wolverson
He said: “I'm relishing the opportunity to exhibit how draconian constraints from the GMC affect doctors' ability to practise in the NHS of 2019.”
The investigation will have serious ramifications for the freelance doctor with Vocare, a healthcare agency he worked for, dropping him – without waiting for an outcome.
He is currently making ends meet by giving hay fever and joint-pain injection to private clients as well as offering botox treatment to others.
Dr Wolverson was working at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Staffordshire when the incident took place.
He asked the woman to take off her niqab as she sat in the hospital consulting room - and she agreed with no fuss.
The GP then claims he could not hear the mum through her religious clothing as she tried to explain what was wrong with her sick daughter.
Half an hour later, after her husband arrived, she complained to bosses at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.
They wrote to the GMC who later told the GP an investigation will be launched.
This country will have no doctors left if we continue to treat them in this manner. I'm deeply upsetDr Keith Wolverson
Last week, Dr Wolverson said regardless of the outcome he plans to leave his job.
He said a "major injustice" has taken place.
The doctor went on: "This is why you are waiting so long to see your GP and doctors are leaving in their droves.
"This country will have no doctors left if we continue to treat them in this manner. I'm deeply upset.
"A doctor's quest to perform the very finest consultation for the safety of their patient has been misinterpreted in a duplicitous manner to suggest there has been an act of racism committed.
"I absolutely no longer want to be doctor."
He previously described the issue as "outrageous", adding: "I was just trying to do my job properly.
“I found it difficult to understand what the woman was saying behind her veil, so politely asked her to remove it.
"I needed to hear what was wrong with her daughter, so I could offer the safest possible care.
“I’m not racist. This is nothing to do with race, religion or skin colour – it’s about clarity of communication.
I’m not racist. This is nothing to do with race, religion or skin colour – it’s about clarity of communicationDr Keith Wolverson
“I’ve treated many Muslim patients and never had a problem when I’ve asked women to remove their veil.
“Many do it as a courtesy as soon as they enter the consulting room.”
The medic said he had never faced sanctions but could now be struck off. He added: “It will ruin me.”
Dr Wolverson’s supervisors sent the GMC a form outlining the complaints.
It says the woman told the doctor she did not want to remove the veil on religious grounds but he refused to continue the consultation unless she did.
It claims he was “rude” and “gave her a dirty look” and she was shocked and crying and felt “victimised and racially discriminated” against.
Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation said Dr Wolverson’s action was “offensive”.
He said a woman staff member could have been asked to help.
He said the GP should be sent on a diversity awareness course but said any “stronger” sanction would be a “shame”.
Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said losing a doctor over the issue would be “criminal”.
She said: “A doctor needs to be sensitive to a patient’s religion but safety must always come first.”
The GMC says medics who wear a veil must remove it if a patient finds it an “obstacle” to communication. They give no guidance on how GPs should react in the reverse situation.
The Doctors’ Association UK urged the GMC to publish guidelines on when medics can acceptably ask patients to remove religious clothing.
It said: "It is of utmost importance that the religious wishes of our patients are respected.
"However, evidently there are some circumstances where removal of a niqab or burka is necessary for medical assessment and treatment.
"Regardless of whether this complaint is upheld, the General Medical Council should consider issuing clear guidelines to protect both doctors, and our patients."
An NHS guide from 2009, meanwhile, says it is not always possible to provide same-sex appointments.
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