UK University Expels Student Who Refused To Be Vaccinated

UK university bans student who refused to be vaccinated

A UK University has expelled a student six weeks after term began after he refused to give consent to be vaccinated. 

Currently, vaccinations are not mandatory in the UK. According to the British Medical Association, the Department of Health issued guidelines clearly stating that none of the vaccinations available in the UK are compulsory and are all offered on a voluntary basis.

The guidelines state:

UK policy on compulsory vaccination:

All immunisations in the UK are voluntary. Determining the factors that contribute to vaccination compliance is essential to the success of implementing future vaccination programmes. Across Europe the trend has been toward greater voluntary participation. Countries such as Germany, where compulsion was the rule a couple of decades ago, now rely on voluntary acceptance. Even though vaccination in the UK is not compulsory, some pre-schools/nurseries refuse entry if children are not fully vaccinated. In March 2003, the Department of Health issued the following statement, ‘None of the childhood vaccinations available in the UK are compulsory. They are offered on a voluntary basis. There are no plans to alter this policy.’

Healthimpactnews.com reports: These issues were once again debated by the British Medical Association (BMA) earlier this year, and once again, UK doctors voted against making vaccinations compulsory in the UK.

In a recent article discussing the BMA’s decision, the Daily Mail stated that:

Doctors’ leaders have rejected the idea of compulsory immunisation for children in the UK, according to a new report.

Outlining the BMA’s reasons for deciding against mandatory vaccination, the Mail wrote that:

BMA Chairman Dr Ian Bogle said: ‘We have looked carefully at the issue of compulsory vaccination and it is true that some countries do operate immunisation programmes where there is some degree of compulsion.

However the BMA does not think this would be right for the United Kingdom.

The doctor-patient relationship is based on trust, choice and openness and we think introducing compulsory vaccination may be harmful to this.’ (own emphasis added)

This being the case, it is difficult to imagine why a so-called reputable university such as Cardiff would actively choose to dismiss a student physiotherapist from his course, simply because he refused to be vaccinated.

Cardiff University Refuses to Educate Unvaccinated Students

In September 2015, Edward Thompson registered with Cardiff University to study for a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) in physiotherapy. According to Mr. Thompson and his family, when he registered for the course, his vaccination status was not discussed and there was no mention of vaccinations being required, in either the university’s literature or at his interview.

However, six weeks after his course had begun, Mr. Thompson was asked to attend an appointment with the Occupational Health Department, where the subject of vaccination was broached by the university for the first time.

In an email, Mr. Thompson explained to Health Impact News that:

Before I applied in 2015, there was no mention of vaccination being mandatory on the Healthcare Sciences website. A Q&A search enquiry said vaccines are not mandatory but strongly recommended.

The Cardiff University acceptance letter of 15th May was dependent upon my academic results and my fulfilling non-academic conditions.

On 22nd May 2015, my pre-course Occupational Health questionnaire including my explicit statement about my concern about over vaccine safety and intent to decline vaccines was returned to Occupational Health to meet the required deadline of the 1st June 2015.

I was accepted on the course and commenced 21st September 2015.

At the appointment, which was held on October 29, 2015, staff told Mr. Thompson that they had not received his pre-course occupational health questionnaire, which, according to Mr. Thompson, was dated May 22, 2015, and disclosed the fact that he had never been vaccinated against any illnesses and that he would not consent to any vaccinations in the future.

According to Mr. Thompson and his family, not only did the staff categorically deny ever receiving the questionnaire, but they also continued the interview by asking him when he had sent the questionnaire to the university and to whom he had addressed it.

This left Mr. Thompson frustrated and confused, because his enrollment had depended on his qualifications and the university receiving the questionnaire and agreeing with its contents.

Questionnaire Magically Appeared on the Doctor’s Desk One Week Later

However, at an appointment with Dr. Pilling on November 5, Mr. Thompson noticed that his original pre-course occupational health questionnaire dated May 22 was on his desk. Feeling confused, Mr. Thompson mentioned this to Dr. Pilling, who told him that it had been misfiled.

Mr. Thompson explained that at the meeting:

He (Dr. Pilling) acknowledged my right to decline vaccinations and sent a vaccination concern letter to school. (We did not know of this policy at the time.) Interestingly, he did not refer to the policy ‘Health Clearance for New Healthcare Workers,’ which states that those who decline the offer of vaccines should be treated the same as non-responders and those to whom vaccines are contraindicated. The policy also states it does not exclude infected workers from working in the NHS.

After their meeting on November 5, Dr. Pilling sent a letter to Health Care Sciences stating that, in his opinion, Mr. Thompson was unsafe to work in a clinical setting.

According to the family, the letter stated that:

He would like the opportunity to discuss his view with them and perhaps suggest alternative strategies that, in his views, would allow him to practice safely.

However, this did not happen.

Instead the Health Care Sciences initiated a Fitness to Practice Procedure (FTP), with an initial meeting scheduled for November 12.

However, Health Care Sciences appeared to totally ignore Mr. Thompson’s statement he sent prior to their meeting, because they continued asking him whether or not he was aware that vaccinations were a requirement of the course.

In his complaint, Mr. Thompson wrote:

Furthermore, in a statement to the university, for the School FTP Committee Meeting, arranged for February 11, 2016, Mr. Thompson’s minutes of the initial FTP meeting were attached.

He wrote:

I could not sign the FTP record document because to do so would ‘acknowledge the concern’ rather than approve the meeting minutes. Hence my addition: To clarify and prevent misunderstanding.

My acceptance on the course was conditional upon your receipt of my completed health form. I did fully disclose my stance on vaccination and if the form is read there can be no doubt about this. I was pleased to be accepted on this basis.

Dr. Pilling is now saying ‘I am an infected worker’ and not fit to practice. He has incorrectly equated health to vaccination.

The FTP procedure makes no mention of vaccination status and is being incorrectly used and I am being made to feel as though I have committed an offence and not fit to work in a clinical setting.

I am, and have been in good health and there is no reason to believe me to be an infected worker ref letter 8.11.15.

The FTP process is stressful and unhelpful to a new student. (own emphasis added)

From the onset, Mr. Thompson provided the university with what he believed to be adequate scientific evidence to support his decision to refuse vaccination.

He continued his statement with the following:

It was at this time we had advice from a solicitor with knowledge of vaccinations. He made my position clear:

‘I had fulfilled all requirements, that my acceptance on the course was a contractual agreement and to remove me from the course would be a breach of contract.’

To clarify: Completing the Pre Course Health Questionnaire is a requirement. There is not a legal requirement to be vaccinated. (own emphasis added)

Mr. Thompson then referred the university to a meeting in which Dr. Pilling had referred him to the Green Book, which, although he admitted did appear to highly recommend vaccinations, did not state that vaccinations were mandatory.

His mother, Mrs. Thompson, explained that:

A School FTP Panel Committee Meeting was arranged for February 11. The Committee Members and my son were all presented with the NHS Policy Health Clearance for New Health Care Workers. Rather than attend this meeting, my son sent a statement quoting this policy that makes clear how those not accepting vaccines are to be treated. Following receipt of his statement the planned FTP School Committee was cancelled by Dr. Pratt Deputy of Health Care Sciences.

A University Committee meeting was subsequently arranged for 19th April. The Chair of this meeting being Professor Bligh. My son was removed from the course and informed that he could no longer attend any lectures.

She stated that:

Despite some of the correct questions being asked at the 19th April FTP meeting, it appeared that the decision had already been decided. The Committee found that his decision to refuse vaccinations brought his fitness to practise into question. They wrote: ‘This is as a result of the high risk you present to the health of patients, placement providers, members of the public and yourself.’

My son’s appeal against the committee decision was accepted by the Academic Registrar, however, subsequently a Pro Vice Chancellor rejected the Appeal. (own emphasis added)

Angered by what had happened, Mrs. Thompson concluded that:

My son’s case is a good example of what lengths of harassment a university will go to in order to get rid of an unvaccinated student.

Doctors have lied, blamed my son, changed admission policies, changed complaint procedure and cancelled the meeting which could have dismissed the case.

They then arranged another meeting and included hundreds of pages of irrelevant documentation, obscuring the proper policy, at a time of his first year exams, a time when he couldn’t get in touch with the solicitor because of the Easter break. They removed him straight away so he missed lectures, waiting as long as possible before saying he could finish his first year.

The right questions were not asked at the Fitness to Practise meeting; they had clearly already decided the outcome.

University’s Blanket Refusal to Educate Unvaccinated Students

In other words, at a time when Mr. Thompson should have been concentrating on his exams, his life was made unbearable by what can only be described as the bully boy tactics adopted by the university’s hierarchy.

Outraged by the university’s decision, Mr. Thompson explained that, in his opinion, the university targeted him for his beliefs. He stated,

As vaccinations are not mandatory in the UK, all university rules, regulations and policies need to be within statute.

He told Health Impact News that he feels that it is unacceptable for the university to discriminate against those declining the offer of vaccines.

His complaint is currently being dealt with by the Office of Independent Adjudication (OIA) but they consider that the university’s conclusions relate to professional judgment with which they cannot interfere despite those decisions being outside of NHS policy.

Mr. Thompson has been left in a position in which he has not only had his reputation and career prospects ruined, but he also has had to incur expenses during his first year at Cardiff University plus solicitor’s fees in order to obtain a reply from the OIA.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing delays and continual refusal to adhere to the UK’s current stance on mandatory vaccination, the complaint has still not been resolved. The university insists their FTP decision must remain and the OIA consider the FTP matter closed. The university admits to only part of the complaint.

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Sean Adl-Tabatabai
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Sean Adl-Tabatabai
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