Ex-magistrate challenges NHS trust after removal from role due to pro-family comments on TV16 July 2018 Issued by: Christian Legal Centre
A Christian who was dismissed as a magistrate by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, after expressing his view that it was in a child’s best interests to be raised by a mother and a father, will tomorrow (Tuesday 17th July) challenge an NHS Trust’s decision to block his return as a non-executive director.
Richard Page, who had nearly 20 years’ experience as a finance director in the NHS, was suspended from his role as a non-executive director of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust in March 2016.
He claims that he suffered discrimination, harassment and victimisation from the trust after being blocked from returning to his role as a non-executive director.
The trust believed that the expression of his views about family life on TV and news media outlets had “undermined” the confidence of staff.
Mr Page, from Kent, brought his claim against the NHS Trust Development Authority, under the Equality Act 2010.
Although an Employment Tribunal judge said that Mr Page’s case was “crying out to be heard”, Croydon Employment Tribunal rejected his application after hearing his case in August 2017.
Tomorrow (17th July), Mr Page will seek permission to appeal the decision.
Mr Page is being supported in his claim by the Christian Legal Centre.
‘Not in interests of health service’ to serve on NHS Trust
Richard Page, 71, worked for various NHS Trusts over the course of almost 20 years, and his experience contributed significantly to the success of the organisations he was involved in. Mr Page and his wife fostered children for 15 years.
In 2016, Mr Page appeared on various television programmes to defend his position that children should ideally be raised by a mother and father. He had expressed this view during a closed-door consultation in an adoption case while serving as a Justice of the Peace.
He was later sacked for serious misconduct from the Magistracy by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, who said his comments suggested he was “biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters”.
Then in August 2016, he was told that an NHS panel, convened to consider his suitability to return to his role as a non-executive director, was unanimous in its view that “it was not in the interests of the health service for [him] to serve.”
The panel believed that Mr Page’s actions were “likely to have had a negative impact on the confidence of staff, patients and the public in [him] as a local NHS leader.”
He was told that the panel’s decision would disqualify him from any further appointment as a non-executive director of any NHS Trust.
‘Appalling anti-Christian attitude’
Commenting on the hearing, Mr Page said:
“My desire to do the best for the child has been the paramount consideration throughout my time as a magistrate on the family panel. Yet by living out this belief, I have been drawn into a much bigger battle about my freedom, and the freedom of Christians more broadly, to express biblical truth in the public square.
“To my dismay, I have discovered the appalling anti-Christian attitude prevalent throughout much of the establishment.”
“It is deeply shocking that someone like me, who cares deeply about justice and freedom, and who has spent my whole life working to serve the community out of love for Jesus Christ, should now be punished in this way.”
‘Focus on perception has far-reaching consequences’
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Mr Page, commented:
“The suggestion that discrimination can be established where there is a ‘perception’ that homosexual people may be affected by Mr Page’s belief is deeply disturbing.
“The focus on ‘perception’ has far-reaching consequences, as it places unjustifiable limits on freedom of expression by shutting down unpopular views.
“Counsel for the NHS Trust’s assertion that stating a Christian view on marriage and raising children has “obvious negative and discriminatory consequences… that same-sex adoption is wrong, unnatural, sinful, or a last resort” is disconcerting.
“The NHS expressed concern that Mr Page spoke to the media about what happened to him. But why shouldn’t he speak to the media?
“We have to stand against the false assertion that it is best for a child to be raised by same-sex couples. The evidence directly contradicts this.
“Mr Page is a selfless and compassionate individual who has dedicated himself to public service. Yet he is another in a long-time of brave Christians who have suffered detriment for expressing biblical truth in the public sphere. We continue to stand by him in his legal challenge.”