Supporters of the BNP have rejected fresh calls last week for members of the organisation to be banned from joining the nursing register – in the same way that police officers are already.
A motion, which was passed by delegates at the UNISON Health Care Service Group conference in Harrogate on Monday, argued that there is no place for members of the BNP in nursing.
However, Nursing Times has received a large number of responses from nurses and former nurses to the motion, claiming it was at odds with free speech.
Jean Purdy, BNP candidate for the North West Region, said: ‘I am a retired nursing sister with over 40 years experience in the NHS and was appalled at the motion passed by UNISON to ban members of the BNP from the nursing profession.
‘I have nursed MPs and councillors of all political parties, many of whose beliefs I would not support,’ she said.
‘There is much that is wrong with the NHS at the moment and nurses, whatever their political views, would be far better concerning themselves with the problems of hospitals whose death rates far exceed the norm,’ she added.
Another email received by Nursing Times said: ‘As a former nurse in East London I read with sadness of the decision to ban the BNP. I am not a member of any political party – I believe in freedom of expression in a democracy.
‘Is open political dialogue dead if you are in the nursing professions?’ the email said.