NHS staff told to apologise for using ‘wrong’ pronouns

Victoria Atkins says the NHS needs to recognise the essential differences between men and women
Victoria Atkins says the NHS needs to recognise the essential differences between men and women - Heathcliff O'Malley

An NHS trust has come under fire from the Health Secretary after issuing a trans inclusiveness policy ordering staff to apologise if they used the “wrong” pronouns for patients.

Bosses at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust issued an 18-page diversity and inclusion policy forcing medics to accept patients’ personal pronouns.

It also said they should not confront patients using single-sex facilities regardless of their appearance.

The trust’s trans policy, which came into effect in February last year according to the Daily Mail, said staff must say sorry to patients if they made mistakes relating to a patient’s pronouns.

It also ordered them to make a “commitment to try harder” if they made mistakes about patients’ preferred pronouns.

‘Biological sex matters’

Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, condemned the policy, saying the NHS needed to recognise the essential differences between men and women.

“I am crystal clear: biological sex matters, and the language used by the NHS needs to recognise the different biological needs of men and women,” Ms Atkins told The Telegraph.

“Illnesses and conditions that we know impact men and women differently should be communicated in a clear and accurate way.

“NHS staff must be allowed to get on with the job of caring for patients, not tiptoeing around trans guidance.

“Under the Conservatives, the Government’s proposed update to the NHS constitution makes clear what patients can expect from NHS services in meeting their needs, including the biological needs of the sexes.”

Miriam Cates, the Tory MP and women’s rights campaigner, backed the Health Secretary and said: “Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust seems to have gone through the looking glass into a world where biological sex doesn’t exist and where the safety and dignity of vulnerable patients is ignored in the interests of being seen to adhere to a ridiculous ideology.

“It is shocking that an organisation dedicated to evidence-based practice can be so blind to the reality of the differences between men and women.”

‘Ignoring the Health Secretary’

Baroness Nicholson, the Lib Dem peer, said that the trust appeared to be ignoring existing government guidelines that sex must come before self-declared gender identity in order to safeguard patients’ own well-being.

“This NHS trust seems to be deliberately ignoring the Health Secretary whose guidance declares that sex overrules gender in all medical matters,” she said.

“The NHS seems determined to follow its own unscientifically proven agenda; does this trust not recognise that male and female health profoundly differs? And that calling a man ‘her’ may so easily result in a nurse handing out the wrong medicines for the patient’s condition?”

A spokesman for the trust told the Daily Mail it is “committed to being an anti-discriminatory organisation, ensuring that we provide an inclusive, safe environment and equitable care for all our patients in line with the Equality Act 2010”.

The spokesman added: “We are proud of our trans policy, which ensures that we treat trans patients… with the same high level of dignity and respect offered to all patients.”

The policy’s existence has come to light in the wake of the landmark Cass Review into NHS England’s gender identity services for children.

Published in April, the review concluded that children who think they are transgender should not be rushed into medical treatment they may later regret.

The report was seen as a huge blow to advocates of transgender ideology, which holds that biological sex can be changed according to one’s own feelings.