Gender question to be removed from primary school survey in NHS U-turn

Olivia Rudgard
The NHS Trust said it was

A question asking children whether they feel comfortable in their gender will be removed by the NHS from primary school questionnaires after it was criticised by parents and MPs. 

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said the question, which was on a survey filled out by 10 and 11-year-olds, would no longer be widely asked. 

Children were asked whether they "feel the same inside" as the gender they were born with as part of the Trust's school health needs assessment, the Daily Telegraph revealed on Monday. 

A spokesman for the Trust said: "We recognise that these are important issues and the need for sensitivity and an appropriate approach, particularly with very young children. 

"As such we will be adopting a more targeted approach to this in the future rather than asking this question universally of all children."

The Trust added that the question was introduced "following input from sexual health specialists, the charity Lancashire LGBT and primary schools, who confirmed that they were seeing a steady increase in requests for advice and support relating to school age children."

The trend is part of a national increase in children questioning their assigned gender. Charities and gender identity clinics have reported significant rises in families looking for support for children who say they have been born in the wrong body. 

“We have also been working with Lancashire County Council on the development and roll out of a digital platform to replace paper questionnaires, this is being piloted in a small number of schools and does not include the question about gender. 

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"All of the questions will be reviewed as part of this development and before a wider roll out to all schools," the spokesman added. 

Lancashire County Council confirmed that it had also been working on the questionnaire and said: "We agree that more consultation is needed before deciding whether to include questions about gender and other sensitive health issues in this assessment."

Tim Loughton the Conservative MP and a former Children's minister, claimed the question was "deeply worrying".

He said: "At a time when children are growing up and having to deal with all sorts of challenges of the modern world, now they are being asked to confront their gender, which for many will be unsettling."