Kent

Richard Page: Sacked Christian director of Kent Trust sues NHS

Richard Page
Image caption Richard Page said it was apparently impossible to "state what the Bible actually says" and have a public role

A Christian former magistrate, sacked for comments he made about same-sex adoption, is suing the NHS after also being suspended as a trust director.

Richard Page was struck off following a BBC interview in which he said it was better for a man and a woman to adopt.

He was also removed as a non-executive director by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).

During a tribunal earlier he said he "was subjected to a campaign for vilification and victimisation".

Mr Page, of Headcorn, Kent, served as a magistrate for more than 15 years and has worked in mental health services for 20 years.

In 2014 he ruled against a gay couple's adoption bid.

Christian discrimination claim

The tribunal heard the other magistrates and court clerk had complained about him being "biased against same-sex couples, bringing the magistracy into disrepute" and being swayed by his Christian views rather than evidence.

Following media interviews in which he repeated "it is best for any child to be raised in a traditional family with a mother and a father", Mr Page was suspended by KMPT, and sacked from the bench.

Then chair of the trust, Andrew Ling, said Mr Page's comments and continuance as a trust member would have a major impact on staff and patients, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) staff.

Mr Page brought a case against them because he believes he has been discriminated against as a Christian.

'How is it relevant?'

In a witness statement presented to the tribunal he denied being homophobic and said the reasons for refusing the adoption in this case were three-fold: one of the applicants had a previously failed adoption application and there was no background on the circumstances of that; the child's foster parents of nearly three years also wanted to adopt the child; and he suspected the applicants of "adoption shopping" in England where the process is easier than in some countries, with plans to then take the child abroad.

A foster parent himself, he added: "I struggle to understand how my comments are relevant to my position in the NHS."

A spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: "It would be wholly inappropriate for us to comment while proceedings are ongoing."

The tribunal continues.

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