A health worker in East London has been found guilty of three cases of misconduct. Victoria Wasteney, a Christian and a senior occupational therapist working for the East London NHS Foundation Trust, was accused of ‘bullying’ a female Muslim colleague after inviting her to pray with her, by giving her a Christian book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity and by inviting her to a sports day at her church.
The therapist had been suspended for nine months and has now had to accept a written warning and been banned from talking about her faith at work.
However, Miss Wasteney is challenging the ruling and is being supported in her claim by the Christian Legal Centre. Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the case demonstrated that “the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian”.
Miss Wasteney added: “I believe in tolerance for everyone and that is why I am challenging what has happened to me,”
The young Muslim woman was a newly qualified occupational therapist in a team managed by Miss Wasteney. Miss Wasteney said she invited the colleague to several church events but thought little of it. Then when the young woman was due to go to hospital, she gave her a book called ‘I Dare To Call Him Father’, that was about a Muslim woman converting to Christianity. However, Miss Wasteney claimed not to have read the book and that it “was not an attempt to convert her to Christianity”.
On a further occasion, the woman apparently came to Miss Wasteney’s office in tears, upset about her health problems and so the manager invited them to pray together.
But in June last year, Miss Wasteney was told that complaints had been made about bullying and harassment. A disciplinary hearing at work found her guilty of the three charges of misconduct.
A spokesman for East London NHS Foundation Trust said it did not comment on individual cases.