NHS staff told not to assume people's genders and to refer to patients as ‘they’

·Freelance Writer
<em>NHS managers are reportedly being trained to not assume the gender of patients (Getty)</em>
NHS managers are reportedly being trained to not assume the gender of patients (Getty)

NHS staff are reportedly being encouraged to use gender-neutral pronouns so as not to offend trans patients and staff.

Courses advertised with the Scottish Trans Alliance (STA) and LGBT Health and Wellbeing and offered by NHS Lothian will train managers to make their use of gender-free language more normalised.

Rather than describing people as ‘her’ or ‘she’, staff are instead urged to say ‘they’ – both at home and at work.

<em>Doctors and nurses are being encouraged to refer to staff and patients as ‘they’ (Wikipedia)</em>
Doctors and nurses are being encouraged to refer to staff and patients as ‘they’ (Wikipedia)

To help transgender patients, staff were advised: ‘Don’t assume you know which pronouns and titles people prefer – ask what they prefer’.

The ‘top tips’ also stated: ‘Think about how you call for people in waiting rooms – ensure that you don’t accidentally use old names or titles.’

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A Senior figure at NHS Lothian, who attended one of the training sessions last year, told The Times: ‘They were telling us to actually refer to each other using the term ‘they’.

‘If we started using ‘they’ in our personal lives it would become natural when we go into the workplace to refer to everyone using the ‘they’ pronoun, not ‘he’ or ‘she’.’

<em>The Scottish Trans Alliance advertises courses offered by NHS Lothian (Scottish Trans Alliance)</em>
The Scottish Trans Alliance advertises courses offered by NHS Lothian (Scottish Trans Alliance)

STA Manager James Morton told the paper that training was arranged by the health board.

Alison McCallum, director of public health and public policy at NHS Lothian, said the training programmes were about ‘exploring the appropriate terms and definitions relating to transgender and non-binary people, including the use of non-binary pronouns’.

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