NHS director 'was not discriminated against' over religious beliefs

An NHS director who was suspended after he made controversial comments based on his religious beliefs has failed with his discrimination claim.

Richard Page was a non-executive director of an NHS and social care trust, and held a position as a lay magistrate in the family court.

He was a practising Christian and had strong views against same-sex couples being suitable adoptive parents. His fellow magistrates complained, and he was reprimanded for breaching his duty to decide adoption cases impartially.

Page aired his views in the media. The Trust asked him not to make any further public comments without informing it first, but Page continued to do interviews and alleged the magistracy had discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs.

The Trust suspended Page and decided against renewing his term, based on a concern that his actions could damage its ability to serve its LGBT patients. There were also fears that his actions were likely to negatively impact the confidence in the NHS of staff, patients and the public in general.

Page claimed the Trust had discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs.

However, the Employment Tribunal found that the Trust was entitled to suspend Page given the public comments he had made. The decision was not discriminatory as it was based on the way Page had acted in expressing his beliefs, and not based on his faith itself.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld that decision.

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