I acknowledge that niqab may impact rapport between the doctor and the patient in the same way that perhaps large shades or pulled up hoodies would, and, I acknowledge that it may make us doctors more uncomfortable to ask patients to remove an article of religious clothing than it would shades or a hoodie, and much more so perhaps for male doctors and for non-Muslim doctors. But the only way forward is having mature, respectful, nuanced, conversations about this involving the women who wear it, not excluding them, and working on policies that enhance the quality of patient/doctor relationships whilst accommodating patient’s beliefs as much as possible.
Being a BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) medic comes with its rewards and challenges. Having been raised in the cultural melting-pot of East London, my experiences of interacting with other ethnic minorities in my formative years provided me with a rich array of differing conduits through which I can form a rapport with a wide variety of patients. In saying this, there have also been challenges that I have personally faced in my medical journey, problems that my fellow BAME colleagues have experienced and many more systemic issues which have slowly become more apparent.