London, England, Feb 19, 2020 / 13:00 pm
Britain's National Health Service has clarified a new policy that will allow patients found to be homophoic, racist, and sexist to be denied non-emergency treatment.
Under the new rules, medical professionals can refuse non-emergency care to patients who harass, bully, or discriminate against them. The policy was announced on Feb. 18, and will go into effect in April.
Previously, a medical professional was only permitted to deny non-emergency care to verbally aggressive or physically violent patients. The new policy will expand this criteria to include any harassment, including homophobia, sexism, and racism.
The U.K.'s Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to NHS staff announcing the change on Tuesday, stating "no act of violence or abuse is minor," and that "being assaulted or abused is not part of the job."