A racist patient at Wigan Infirmary has been banned by outraged hospital bosses after asking to see a “white doctor” and putting in a formal complaint when his request was denied.
Chief executive at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust, Andrew Foster, has spoken out about the “appalling” behaviour displayed by a patient at the A&E department, which was “hugely upsetting” for staff.
According to Mr Foster, the patient asked to be treated by a “white doctor” and when his requests were politely denied, he left the infirmary and put in a formal complaint.
The outgoing hospital boss, who is due to retire in October, said he is considering involving police in the incident and will be “excluding” the patient from future treatment.
He said: “Would you believe a patient coming to A&E @WWLNHS and asking to see a white doctor? When politely told that a white doctor was not available, the patient walked out and has formally complained about this. This was hugely upsetting for the staff involved. Appalling.
“We will exclude this individual. I am exploring whether the police will take a role in this too. I cannot believe the nerve of submitting a formal complaint against the hospital.”
The incident has understandably caused a huge reaction on social media.
Shockingly, medical staff from other areas of the country have reported coming across similar behaviour during their careers in the NHS.
Nithin Narayan said: “Unfortunately Andrew, though I am surprised it happened at @WWLNHS.
“Not surprised a patient asked for a "white doctor". I have had the same appalling experience on more than one occasion throughout my career. The views of the minority is what I keep telling myself.”
Others also commented on the overall problem of racism from patients to healthcare workers, calling it “disgusting”.
A Twitter user called Cathulhu, said: “Having the misfortune of visiting A&E more than once this year, and hearing the appalling racism coming from my fellow patients in the waiting room, I can absolutely believe this. It’s disgusting.”
Tara Hewitt wrote: “This happens regularly and legally it wouldn't matter if doctor was available if patient is asking to choose doctor based on race they are withdrawing themselves from care. As otherwise the BME doctor is well within their rights to bring a discrimination case against employer.”
WWL has since released a statement saying that there is a "zero tolerance" approach to any kind of discrimination within the trust.
A spokesperson said: "Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has a zero tolerance approach to any kind of discrimination and any use of racist, homophobic, transphobic, or any other offensive language or behaviour towards our staff, service users and their carers will be acted upon.
"All members of WWL staff have a right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race or ethnicity, gender, age, religion or belief, sexual identity or orientation, transgender identity or disability.
"WWL values diversity amongst its staff and is committed to ensuring that all members of the WWL family are able to provide the best possible care to our patients in an environment free from hate.
"This incident has caused considerable upset to the medical staff involved and the Trust is considering measures such as excluding the individual from all but emergency services at WWL in future."