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Injured RAF sergeant 'moved from A&E waiting room over fears uniform might cause upset'

Mark Prendeville served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Credit: Facebook

An RAF airman was moved out of a hospital waiting room because staff feared his uniform may "upset" other patients, it has been reported.

According to the Sun, aircraft engineer Mark Prendeville, was taken to A&E at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got in to his eyes during a training exercise.

The 38-year-old, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken to an empty corner of the waiting room before being moved behind a corner by hospital staff, the newspaper said.

His family was allegedly told by hospital workers that "they didn't want to upset people" as they "have lots of different cultures coming in".

Mark with his wife on his wedding day. Credit: Facebook

The sergeant's father Jim, a former Sgt Major with the Irish Guards, told the Sun: "Mark was moved because of his uniform - he was told that twice".

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.

– The sergeant's father Jim, speaking to the Sun
The incident reportedly happened at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent. Credit: Flickr/EastKentHospitals

A spokesman for East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the Sun it had apologised to Sgt Prendeville for "any embarrassment".

A member of the armed forces in uniform attended our A&E and was asked by a member of staff if he wanted to sit inside the department rather than the waiting room.

This 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.

– Spokesman for East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust