Imagine being a Jewish family visiting your local NHS hospital and the staff that treat you are wearing Palestinian flags. Our hospitals should be places where every person entering feels safe and secure, and where those needing treatment can do so without discrimination.

But this wasn’t the case for a nine-year-old Jewish boy who attended the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Wearing visibly Jewish attire, the boy was forced out of his bed to receive treatment on the floor by nurses wearing pro-Palestinian badges. According to the boy’s uncle, he was “was kicked out of his bay, by one of the nurses who was covered in Pro-Palestine badges and stickers” and due to that “had to lie on the floor with a canula in”.

The hospital trust has launched an investigation and has announced that communication with staff across the NHS has taken place, reminding them that the NHS dress code policy “does not permit the wearing of items of a political nature, including Palestinian badges.”

This is a welcomed response, but questions still surround why the Jewish child was discriminated against in the first place. The next time a Jewish patient is mistreated, the motive might not be so obvious by display of a pin badge. And more worryingly, the mistreatment could be far worse than being denied a hospital bed. It is tragic that this kind of antisemitic behaviour exists in Britain in 2024. A strong response is vital.

Since 7 October, there have been 66 reports of NHS staff breaching of the IHRA definition of antisemitism by and standards set out by the General Medical Council. In 2022 there was zero. Since the Hamas massacre, there has been a surge in the Palestinian flag is being used deliberately by antisemites to intimidate Jews.

The uncle, who lives in Tel Aviv, explained in a Twitter post that his nephew needs regular treatment at the hospital due to a rare blood disorder.

The man added: “Now the damage is done and my proudly Jewish nephew (and his parents) is scared to not get treatment if he wears his Kippa and tzitzit.

“Coincidentally, today when not visibly Jewish, he received quick care. Also worth noting, prior to the conflict he received excellent care,” the post adds.

He added: “To be honest I’m not sure what can be done. At the very least I firmly believe that public medical healthcare professionals shouldn’t be wearing political pins that make people/children, scared/nervous/worry,” the post reads.

The man who made the original social media post has also shared an update which he said has involved contact with the NHS “directly at varying levels of seniority” to discuss the situation.

“It is clear from our conversations that this report was handled with the utmost respect and seriousness. They have assured us, both in public statements and privately to the family, that an investigation has been launched and that action is being taken.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have reminded all staff of the need to adhere to the trust’s dress code policy which only permits the wearing of badges endorsed by officially sanctioned NHS campaigns.

“We do not tolerate any discriminatory practice and react swiftly where there is evidence of such behaviour. Our patients are our priority at all times, and we would like to reassure people of all faiths, and those of none, within our community.”

The statement added: “We have taken action and offered prompt reassurance that Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and the wider NHS, provides care and treatment for all people regardless of race, faith, or background, and does not discriminate.


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