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Shipman Bill discrimination fears

A charity claims a Government Bill which looks to implement proposals stemming from the Harold Shipman inquiry may discriminate against some nurses.

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) said that rules around workers being of "good health" could affect disabled people or those with long-term health conditions.

DRC chairman Sir Bert Massie said extending these requirements will increase the potential for discrimination, while doing nothing to protect the public.

And it could even make matters worse by implying that inappropriate candidates have been weeded out, he added.

Sarah Thewlis, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive, said: "We have had discussions with the DRC and welcome the report as it reflects the other work we are doing around diversity.

"Although the issues raised were not exclusive to the NMC as all healthcare regulators are facing similar challenges, we are committed to delivering standards and guidance that strike an effective balance between protecting the public and supporting the professional development of nurses and midwives."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "We fully support all the positive work undertaken by the regulators, health and social care employers, educational and professional bodies to encourage suitably qualified disabled people to pursue careers in this sector."

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