Health Secretary suggests NHS staff face Palestine flag ban

Doctors and nurses face a ban on wearing Palestine flag badges, the Health Secretary has said.

Victoria Atkins claimed NHS trust executives share her concerns about flags and other political symbols on lanyards and uniforms “across the board”.

In an interview with The Jewish Chronicle, Ms Atkins said: “I’ve already been in conversations with NHS England about how we can ensure that uniforms are free (of) political (symbols) and flags, and this goes across the board.

“Working with NHS England, I know they share these concerns, as do NHS trust executives — and indeed, the overwhelming majority of people who work in the NHS.”

Ms Atkins told the newspaper that “antisemitism is a specific problem that needs a specific set of solutions”.

The Jewish Chronicle reported a ban on Palestine flags is something that the Cabinet minister is “determined to develop”.

The announcement comes several weeks after Cabinet Minister Esther McVey mooted a ban on rainbow lanyards across Whitehall.

She said in May that civil servants should wear “standard design” lanyards, a statement which could indicate that the colourway used to express support for the LGBT+ community or as a marker of LGBT+ identity should not be used.

Cabinet meeting
Esther McVey mooted a ban on rainbow lanyards in the civil service (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Responding to Ms Atkins’s comments, Sir Keir Starmer said she should be focused on running the NHS.

He told reporters in Portsmouth: “We’ve got nearly eight million on the waiting list, that’s a record high, and it’s shocking, and we’ve got the lowest satisfaction in the NHS.

“So what I’d say to the Health Secretary is you start concentrating on the waiting lists and on the satisfaction in the NHS to make sure those millions of people who desperately need care get it.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –