Sikhs allowed by UK Health Department to wear karas while dealing with patients

April 12th, 2010 - 7:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 12(ANI): The UK Health Department has relaxed its “no jewellery” rule for Sikh employees allowing them to wear karas, as long as they can be moved up the arm during direct contact with patients.

They have also revised rules for Muslim doctors and nurses, allowing them to opt out of strict dress codes designed to tackle the spread of deadly infection on grounds of religion.

The decision comes days after Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin lost her discrimination claim against the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Trust, which banned her from wearing a crucifix.

Health chiefs had said that Chaplin’s crucifix was a “hazard” and could scratch patients.

Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, said that rules should be uniform, and there should not be any exceptions.

“It is one rule for one and one rule for the other. That is the nub of the issue. If they are prepared to make exceptions for manifestations of faith for Muslims and Sikhs, then why not for Christianity?” The Daily Express quoted Williams, as saying.

“If they applied a strict uniform policy across the board to every faith with no exceptions, then Shirley Chaplin’s case would be more understandable, but that is not what they are doing,” she added.

Meanwhile, a Department of Health official said that the revised rules would not compromise hygiene.

“The overall purpose of the guidance, to ensure patient safety by adherence to good hand hygiene, is not prejudiced by the additional dress options that have now been identified,” an official. (ANI)

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