British hospital apologises for offending sergeant in uniform

London, Sep 26 (IANS) A hospital that made a British Royal Air Force (RAF) sergeant move out of sight of other patients in case his uniform caused offence has apologised, the media reported on Saturday.

Aircraft engineer Mark Prendeville was relocated twice by the staff of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent who allegedly told his family “they didn’t want to upset people” and “have lots of different cultures coming in”, The Telegraph reported.

Prendeville was taken to the Accident and Emergency unit after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got into his eyes during a training exercise.

The 38-year-old, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken first to an empty corner of the waiting room and later around a corner.

His father, Jim who has also served in the armed forces, said he was “disgusted” by the way his son was treated.

“Mark was moved because of his uniform – he was told that twice,” Jim Prendeville said.

“The first time, they asked him to move around the corner. Then someone else came out and took him around another corner so no one would see him. They said they didn’t want to upset people in the hospital. The words they used were, ‘We’ve lots of different cultures’ coming in.”

A spokesman for East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust apologised for “any embarrassment”.

“The employee was acting in good faith because previously there had been an altercation between a member of the public and a different member of the armed forces in uniform,” the spokesman added.

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