Health secretary plans to bring back 'sex-specific language' to NHS

Transgender women will be banned from being treated in female hospital wards in England, under new proposals put forward by the health secretary.

In his conference speech, Steve Barclay announced plans to push back against what he called "wokery" in the NHS, saying it had led to women's rights being increasingly sidelined.

The government will consult on making changes to the NHS constitution, which will also include the right to request same-sex intimate care requests.

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The health secretary also confirmed sex-specific language would be used when dealing with women's health.

Speaking to party members in Manchester, Mr Barclay said: "We need a common-sense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS - that is why today I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients.

"And I can today confirm that sex-specific language has now been fully restored to online health advice pages about cervical and ovarian cancer and the menopause.

"It is vital that women's voices are heard in the NHS and the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected."

In April, Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch said the government could ban trans women from entering female-only spaces, and asked parliament's human rights watchdog for its advice to change official wording from just "sex" to "biological sex", which she described as a "technical and contested area of law".

New medical schools on the way - but Labour says they already exist

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Barclay also announced an expansion of NHS training and funding of new technology in the health service.

He also confirmed new medical schools in Worcester, Chester and Uxbridge, as well as an increase in the number of places up and down the country for students wanting to train to be doctors.

However, Labour said the three "new" schools announced already exist, and added that restrictions on the number of government-funded places mean they are only training international students.

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Mr Barclay's speech comes with the backdrop of ongoing junior doctor and consultant strikes in England.

They are taking joint action, with Christmas Day levels of cover expected until Wednesday.

It follows two days of strike action at the end of September and coincides with Rishi Sunak's first Conservative Party conference as leader and prime minister.

The Conservatives will be hoping to grapple back control of its conference in Manchester, which has been dominated by leaks regarding the northern phase of HS2 - which Sky News understands will be scrapped in the coming days.

While Number 10 says no decisions have been made, it is thought the section of the high-speed rail project between Birmingham and Manchester will now be shelved.