Health officials have been ordered to ditch an NHS training manual that told staff to declare their pronouns to patients.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has instructed that the materials be withdrawn amid fury over the “ideological dogma” pervading the service.
The training module, issued by Health Education England said doctors, nurses and other staff should start conversations with patients by declaring their own pronoun.
Staff were advised to inform patients of pronouns – such as he/him, she/her or they/them – in order to create a “safe space for trans, non-binary, intersex and gender non conforming people”.
Mr Barclay has intervened and ordered that the training material be withdrawn, having become incensed at the “woke agenda” being promoted within the public sector.
On Tuesday he used his speech to the Tory party conference to announce that trans women will be banned from female wards, under plans to restore “common sense” to the NHS.
The changes, which will be subject to consultation, will consider giving patients the right to know if their doctor is transgender, and to insist on having intimate care given by someone of the same biological sex.
Efforts to restore ‘simple common sense’
Earlier this year health leaders attracted a public outcry when they said patients did not have the right to know if their medics were transgender, and could be guilty of discrimination if they asked to see another doctor.
Mr Barclay also announced the return of “sex specific” language to the NHS – after references to women were expunged from advice on the menopause and on diseases such as cervical and ovarian cancer.
The Health Secretary went on to reveal that he has intervened “and stopped the NHS ordering staff to declare their pronouns to each new patient” as part of efforts to restore “simple common sense” to the service.
“I know as Conservatives, we know what a woman is,” he added, to applause.
A source close to the Health Secretary said: “The training was brought to Steve’s attention, he thought it was woke nonsense, tasked officials with getting it removed and they raised it with NHS England.”
Helen Joyce, director of advocacy for campaign group Sex Matters welcomed the shift.
She said: “During the past decade the entire NHS has been captured by the extreme transactivist lobby. They’ve written policies saying that patients’ self-declared ‘gender identities’ are more important than their actual biological sex – which is absurd when you’re talking about health care. And they say everyone, both staff and patients, should declare their pronouns, when the reality is it’s obvious what sex almost everyone is at first sight. This ideology needs to be removed from every part of the NHS, for everyone’s sake.”
Importance of biological sex
The training manual was issued by Health Education England, a training and education body which is now being merged with NHS England.
Before the guidance was withdrawn an NHS spokesman said the online module was optional for staff.
On Tuesday, Mr Barclay called for a “relentless focus on patient outcomes” and prioritisation of frontline resources.
“It does not mean spending huge sums of taxpayer’s money on diversity consultants or hiring bloated internal diversity and inclusion teams,” he said.
“And it does not mean ignoring patient’s voices – especially women’s voices when it comes to the importance of biological sex in healthcare.
“If we do not get this right now, the long-term consequences could be very serious for the protection of women and future generations.”
Stonewall denounces plans
Home Secretary Suella Braverman gave her backing to the plans, telling broadcasters on a visit to Bolton: “Trans women have no place in women’s wards or indeed any safe space relating to biological women.
“And the Health Secretary is absolutely right to clarify and make it clear that biological men should not have treatments in the same wards and in the same safe spaces as biological women.
“This is about protecting women’s dignity, and women’s safety and women’s privacy. And that’s why I’m incredibly supportive and I welcome the announcement today by the Health Secretary.”
But a spokesperson for Stonewall said: “This is a cynical attempt by the Secretary of State to ‘look busy’ instead of getting on with the graft of implementing the Women’s Health Strategy, and, besides being unworkable, all it will achieve is to restrict access to healthcare for trans women, by making it humiliating and dangerous.”
Earlier this year Labour leader Keir Starmer said Labour would back single sex wards, based on biological sex.
It came after he sought to clarify his stance on transgender issues by stating that 99.9 per cent of women “of course haven’t got a penis” having previously vowed to change the law in favour of self-identification.