Doctors union says medics shouldn’t have to refer patients to Prevent counter terror authorities

Doctors should not have to refer concerns about suspected terrorists to the Prevent counter terror authorities, the British Medical Association union has ruled.

The Telegraph reports that the BMA agreed a motion at its annual conference in Brighton to support any members who refuse to take part in training in the scheme.

Doctors said the obligations on them were “Orwellian” “Kafka-esque” and “like a scene from Minority Report” – claiming the measures were creating “a climate of fear and mistrust”.

They said that the obligation to refer suspicions about patients or colleagues to the authorities could undermine trust in medics.

Dr Jackie Appleby, from Tower Hamlets division, said: “Under the Prevent programme public sector workers – which is all of us – are required by law to register concerns about people they come into contact with who might be developing extremist ideas.

“The main focus is clearly on Islamic extremism and this builds a a climate of fear and mistrust feeds Islamaophobia and leads to racial profiling.

“Home office data show that Muslims are 40 times more likely to be referred than someone who is not a Muslim. I understand that people are fearful of terrorism and I absolutely condemn it in all its forms but we have to balance our fear of terrorism against the intrusion into people’s lives of counter-terrorism strategies,”  the GP said.

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“Prevent means that Muslims are increasingly afraid to express a political opinion for fear of being reported.”

She attacked the programme which she said was worsening tensions within society.

“Prevent feeds Theresa May’s hostile environment, which emboldens racists and provides fertile ground for their organisations to grow,” she said.

“We should strenuously defend our multi-cultural society which enriches us all. Prevent makes us suspicious of each other, sows fear and hatred cause racial profiling and does not work.

“Doctors’ relationships rely on the antithesis of this. We depend on building trust.”

And she urged delegates to support members “who refuse to be drawn in to this Orwellian world”.

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