Questions of ethics have been raised over whether nurses should be allowed to join extremist political parties, following the leaking of a list of supposed BNP members.
The names of at least four registered nurses appear on the list, which was circulated widely on the internet last week and thought to have come from a disgruntled former party member.
Police and prison officers are banned in their contracts from joining the BNP (British National Party). However, this is not the case for nurses and other public sector workers including doctors and teachers.
The NMC last week reaffirmed its position that nurses are free to join the BNP – but warned that they could be struck off if their political views compromised their care.
‘The NMC does not forbid anyone on the register from being a member of any lawful political party or organisation,’ it said. ‘However, your fitness to practise could be called into question if you allow your political views or personal beliefs to contribute to behaviour that was contrary to your code.’
Gail Adams, Unison head of nursing, said: ‘It is hard to imagine the strong, far-right views of the BNP as being compatible with working in a caring profession such as nursing. Nurses must treat patients from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds with respect, professionalism and care.’
She added: ‘There is no doubt that the NHS would grind to a halt without the efforts of thousands of migrant workers. Being a member of the BNP would interfere substantially with the close working relationship needed between NHS colleagues.’
Janet Maiden, a haematology nurse at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘I don’t think nurses should be allowed to be members of the BNP. If the police can’t be members, I don’t see why nurses can join.’
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