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BNP nurses spark ethics debate

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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.’

Should nurses be free to join any legal political party, regardless of its views or ethics? Click here to have your say on the NT forums

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • What happened to promoting equality and diversity? Am I missing something or doesn't this form a vital part of the knowledge and skills framework. As far as I'm concerned, membership to the BNP goes against the grain of promoting equality and diversity.
    I think that the membership to BNP is rising in direct response to the poor handling of migrant workers by the government and NHS employers rather than the problem being with the migrant workers themselves. Many nurses feel that nurses' pay has been kept unrealistically low because of the willingness of migrant workers to accept work on lower pay.
    This is not the fault of the migrant workers but it is an issue that the government needs to address if they want to avoid a recruitment crisis in the near future. I have been saddened to see many Spanish nurses coming over here under the false pretense that they will be financially better off. The reality is that the cost of living is so high here, that many are leaving as quickly as they arrived.

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  • What happened to promoting equality and diversity? Am I missing something or doesn't this form a vital part of the knowledge and skills framework. As far as I'm concerned, membership to the BNP goes against the grain of promoting equality and diversity.
    I think that the membership to BNP is rising in direct response to the poor handling of migrant workers by the government and NHS employers rather than the problem being with the migrant workers themselves. Many nurses feel that nurses' pay has been kept unrealistically low because of the willingness of migrant workers to accept work on lower pay.
    This is not the fault of the migrant workers but it is an issue that the government needs to address if they want to avoid a recruitment crisis in the near future. I have been saddened to see many Spanish nurses coming over here under the false pretense that they will be financially better off. The reality is that the cost of living is so high here, that many are leaving as quickly as they arrived.

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  • Martin Gray

    Anonymous from Shropshire has made an interesting observation regarding the increase in membership of the BNP. Now we are well and truly suffering the effects of the credit crunch, with job losses rising every day, it is fuelling the ill feeling towards immigrant workers that are taking on available jobs for much lower pay.

    Unfortunatley there are a number of factors that then come in to play; however, it has to be said that the pay offered by some health care employers is so poor it WILL only attract immigrant workers as the British are not prepared to work for so little. This is especially true in care home sector where many nurses are from Africa, Asia, or eastern Europe.

    Perhaps the same was true of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s when there was widespread depression after the Great War? My point really is that people can become jaded in their views and opinions when they percieve 'unfairness' and these emotions are easily influenced if the right manipulative personality comes along. Hitler won hearts and minds by being a great orator; luckily the BNP don't have anyone with the same ability.

    Nurses should not be allowed to join a party that promotes inequality and racism, but in a democracy such as ours to disallow choice is a breach of their human rights - the NMC has taken, in my opinion, a clear decision on what is acceptable and what is not.

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  • I can not imagine Nurses who are meant to care for individuals with a non -judgemental non-biased approach join such a Party with far-right views and conflicting opinions about a range of issues such as immigration and immigrants.

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  • So we have the freedom to support a political party,provided the government like it!
    We have the freedom to express our thoughts and beliefs,provided the government like them!
    But if you don't follow the line laid down by OUR DEAR LEADER! you can be sacked,financially destroyed by being listed as UNEMPLOYABLE and left homeless when you can't pay your mortgage!

    All we need now are a few Labour Camps and we can complete the picture! This MARXIST crap is going to destroy our country if we let it! People speak of being tolerant but they do not understand the meaning of the word.Tolerance is NOT the same as approval,it means NOT approving of something but putting up with it anyway!That is why Britain was such a great country,we put up with things we didn't like! UNISON now advocates the very thing that has always been the bedrock of bigotry and fascism-INTOLERANCE!

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