LONDON–A Syrian surgeon in Britain has been charged with making a series of racist rants against Indian doctors after he claimed that they should “clean toilets and not practise medicine”, a tribunal heard.
Ragheb Nouman, who was working as a locum at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, allegedly also told hospital colleagues that Indian doctors would be the “downfall of the NHS” and would “take us all over,” the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
The series of racist comments were made in July 2012, just weeks after Nouman started working in orthopaedics at North Tees and Hartlepools Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service was told.
Nouman’s racist rants began when he was overheard arguing with colleagues, telling one, “I don’t understand you Indian b*******” before a female staff member called him into her office to defuse the situation.
But Nouman told the woman: “The only reason that I have been brought in for this discussion is because of the Indian doctors that have reported me. I am not racist, I have no problem with Arabs or Jews, only with Indians and the Indian population.”
The matter was referred to the hospital’s clinical director Christopher Tulloch and subsequently Nouman was dismissed from his post on July 9.
But he returned to the hospital the following day and told Tulloch that he is not racist, but Indians are “dangerous”.
He also accused Indian doctors of being “untrustworthy, rude and cheeky”, and said they “should be gardeners”, the tribunal heard.
The hearing was told the Syrian surgeon also approached one of the complainants — known as “B” — at a bus stop and allegedly said: “Does this man look like a doctor? You Indian b*******.”
Nouman was referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) and in August 2012, an investigations officer asked him about a man known at the hearing as “D”.
During the call, Nouman asked if “D” was English or Indian, adding that if he was English, then that’s OK but if he is an Indian, it’s a “waste of time”.
“You must understand that Indian doctors complain about me because they are rude. Indians should clean toilets, not practice medicine. Indians should be gardeners,” he said.
The tribunal was told that Nouman later went to work as a locum at NHS Highlands without telling the trust he was subject to fitness to practise proceedings.
In December 2013, a GMC assessment found Nouman’s professional performance was “unacceptable”.
“I’m not racist. I have friends from India. I have never ever been a racist doctor,” the Syrian surgeon told the hearing on Wednesday.
But Tulloch, who gave evidence against him, said: “Why on the Earth would I go out of my way and go through the additional stress of bringing about allegations that were false if I hadn’t been utterly convinced about what I had heard?”
“You said that you couldn’t trust Indians as they are going to take us all over. The whole gist was it was not addressed to particular people, it was addressed to the nation.”
Nouman denies misconduct as the hearing continues.