A 69-year-old former magistrate who was sacked earlier this month for opposing adoption by same-sex parents, has now been removed from a National Health Service (NHS) Trust. Richard Page had sparked a controversy by stating in an interview that children "were better off with a man and a woman as adopted parents than with same-sex couples".
Page, who has worked in the field of mental health for 20 years, has been suspended from the board of the Kent and Medway NHS and social care partnership trust (Kmpt) until an investigation is carried out. He served as magistrate at Maidstone and Sevenoaks courts in Kent for 15 years.
Seeking Page's suspension, Andrew Ling, chairman of the trust, wrote to the NHS Trust Development Authority that Page's continuance on the trust's board would have a major impact on staff, patients and "the perception of living the Trust values". He added that the "recent publicity" drawn by the 69-year-old "is likely to further undermine the confidence staff, particularly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) staff, have in the leadership of the Trust".
Ling further wrote, "Links between the stigma often associated with being LGBT and poor mental health are well established. It is vital that patients and local population are confident that Kmpt will challenge stigma or discrimination and treat everyone fairly and impartially."
Reacting to his suspension, Page lamented that although the British prime minister stated in an Easter video that we are a Christian country and should be proud of it, the laws brought in by his government are aimed at silencing Christians. "It would appear no longer possible to be a Christian, to state what the Bible actually says and what the Church has believed for 2,000 years, and maintain a role in public life in today's Britain. My seat on the NHS Trust came as a result of my long service in mental health and total commitment to the NHS – none of that has changed," Page was quoted as saying by the Kent Online.
He questioned the trust on its virtue of treating everyone equally and fairly, saying, "The Trust says in its letter that it is committed to 'challenge discrimination and treat everyone fairly and impartially' – all evidence to the contrary. What about treating my views, held by billions of Christians around the world, equally and fairly?
"What the Prime Minister, Government and NHS Trust fail to recognise is that the reason why so many Christians make such a huge contribution to society – which they are all keen to acknowledge – is that we are all motivated to do so by our Christian faith and our love for Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection we remember this weekend.
"If the current trend continues, and Christians are systematically removed from public life, one by one, profession by profession, then who will pick up the pieces? Already churches have to step in with Food Banks and Credit Union, but what if they go? And what if Christians are forced to withdraw from the NHS, the law and education, where will this country be?" Page said.