The reason I ask is this. It seems that Muslim staff in hospitals will now be able to escape a hygiene rule, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Female staff who follow the Islamic faith will be allowed to cover their arms to preserve their modesty despite earlier guidance that all staff should be “bare below the elbow”.
The Department of Health has also relaxed rules prohibiting jewellery so that Sikh members of staff can wear bangles linked with their faith, providing they are pushed up the arm while the medic treats a patient.
One of the reasons for the below-the-elbow ruling was to cut down on hospital-acquired bugs, which are dangerous, not to say deadly, little critters.
This guidance was introduced by Alan Johnson, the current Home Secretary, when he was Health Secretary in 2007.
The rules were drawn up to reduce the number of patients who were falling ill, and even dying, from superbugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
Revised guidance which relaxed the requirements for some religions was published last month.
Some Muslim staff and those from other groups may be allowed to use disposable plastic over-sleeves which cover their clothes below the elbow and allow the skin to remain covered up.
Derek Butler, chairman of MRSA Action UK, said: “My worry is that allowing some medics to use disposable sleeves you compromise patient safety because unless you change the sleeves between each patient, you spread bacteria.
“Scrubbing bare arms is far more effective.”
The Department of Health spokesman says, “The guidance is intended to provide direction to services in how they can balance infection control measures with cultural beliefs without compromising patient safety.”
If scrubbing is best, how do they not compromise patient safety. Or by “balance” do they mean, “Well, we can tolerate a few deaths to appease the superstitions of Muslims”?
What has changed since that guidance was issued to give the impression that maybe scrubbing is not the best way after all?
Is this all smacking of our old friend PCGM (political correctness gone mad) here?