Tuesday, March 24, 2009


General Medical Council operates the policy of religious diversity irrespective of its appropriateness for the organisational type it is, in my opinion. Recently, a judge sitting at GMC Fitness to Practice Panel had a complaint made against her to GMC which was that she attempted to shake hands with a rabbi who worked on the same panel. Orthodox Jews do not shake hands with opposite sex. Christian women often think it is a put down because they are women and feel being treated as inferior. However, Orthodox women Jews also do not shake hands with men having the knowledge of the expectations, I presume. I, too once tried to shake hands with a rabbi, but he told me that he did not shake hands with women. I asked him why and he said:"Because that would be the beginning of intimacy". How presumptuous! However, touching can tells us something about person. Cold and sweaty, shaky. Warm and dry, relaxed, perhaps. Strong and crunching aggressive. Slippery fish. Avoidant, finger tips only given in finger shake. Most of us have our dislikes. But religious avoidance of hand shaking is really about power, I think. When we shake hands we let another person have some information about us and it is not always good. When we appear vulnerable our power can decrease (except for some crying babies). There are various types of hated handshakes and read here about some: http://enlightr.com/social-interaction/49-articles/49-the-worlds-8-worst-handshakes What concerns me is the apparent lack of political activity at GMC which allows outdated dogmatic people to sit and judge some of the most intelligent people in this country. This assumes that there are doctors who are innocent victims of persecution-having been one of those I do know the pain and I do know I am not the only one. Did GMC ask themselves or Privy Council just how appropriate it is for all religious extremists to be judging doctors in 21st century! At my GMC hearing in 2003 I had a Christian extremist who believed demons cause epilepsy (I know it from reading his book). How did he judge neurologists, child psychiatrists and those who have children with epilepsy? If Mr David Cameron had a son with epilepsy who was the demon that caused it? Why do we put up with this state of injustice? It is as if some people in administration do not understand how diversity and equality are supposed to operate. Diversity we should welcome when it is in the interest of human well being. Equality when those needs can be met equally by different people (eg sex, race, status). Thus there is no point pretending we are all equal by increasing religious diversity when none is required. General Medical Council should aim to be a secular organisation free of archaic behaviour of extremists of any form.

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