EXCLUSIVE Now NHS staff will tell patients their preferred pronouns

EXCLUSIVE Now NHS staff will tell patients what their preferred pronouns are so they can create a ‘safe space’ for transgender people

  • MAIL ON SUNDAY EXCLUSIVE: Advice in a training guide by Health Education England, responsible for training
  • Critics raised concern over HEE’s close relationship with LGBT charity Stonewall

NHS patients are to be told which pronouns their doctors and nurses prefer to be addressed by.

A diversity training module for medics tells them to inform patients of their pronouns – such as he/him, she/her or they/them – to create a ‘safe space’ for transgender and non-binary people, who make up 0.5 per cent of the population.

Critics last night warned the move risks making patients who are not transgender ‘uncomfortable’.

The advice is in a training guide by Health Education England (HEE), the quango responsible for education and training in the NHS.

Critics have raised concern over HEE’s close relationship with LGBT charity Stonewall, which has urged removing the word ‘mother’ from maternity policies as it could discriminate against trans people who were born female but now identify as male.

The advice is in a training guide by Health Education England (HEE), the quango responsible for education and training in the NHS

HEE’s online learning module –entitled ‘LGBTQIA+ Awareness’ – will be completed by staff across the NHS and care sector. It encourages health workers to announce their pronouns to each other at NHS staff meetings.

And it says transgender staff must be allowed to access single-sex facilities of the gender they identify as – regardless of whether they have physically transitioned.

This could see pre-operative transgender women being allowed in female-only spaces in hospitals.

HEE’s guide says: ‘The easiest thing to do is to start by introducing yourself with your own pronoun.

‘In doing so you are creating a safe space for trans, non-binary, intersex and gender non-conforming people who may not feel comfortable to go first in introducing themselves with pronouns.’

Dr Louise Irvine, co-chair of the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender

In one training scenario, a female objects to doing so as it is ‘obvious’ what her pronoun is. But the team leader urges her to ‘keep in mind that while many people associate ‘he’ and ‘she’ as meaning men and women, this isn’t always the case’.

Last night Dr Louise Irvine, co-chair of the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender, said: ‘Having staff stating their pronouns at the start of conversations runs the risk of making some patients feel uncomfortable. If the advice in this training module is adopted in the NHS, staff will feel compelled to declare their pronouns even if they didn’t want to.

‘If they failed to do so they would stand out and may even be accused of transphobia. So what this is about is a forced recruiting of people into a particular ideology.’

The training also tells staff trans women can be lesbians – despite the fact they are biologically male.

HEE’s guide says that under the Equality Act, trans staff have legal ‘protection’ to access single-sex facilities such as female toilets.

But barrister Naomi Cunningham said: ‘This is flat wrong.’ She said that workplace legislation requires employers to provide single-sex facilities such as female-only toilets, so biological males who identify as women can be prevented from entering these spaces without contravening the Equality Act.

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