Gender ideology has “seriously compromised” the NHS and is diminishing women’s rights to same-sex spaces, a report has suggested.
A new report by the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange claims that the prioritisation of gender above sex in the NHS is putting women at risk.
“Gender identity ideology in the NHS,” a report by Research Fellow Lottie Moore ( pdf ), says that policy on prioritizing gender over biological sex is failing to understand the law and protect sex-based rights.
In a foreword to the report, Nimco Ali, who was appointed as an independent government adviser on tackling violence against women and girls by former Home Secretary Priti Patel in 2020, said that it “has long been recognised that the safety, dignity and privacy of women and girls is improved when single-sex provision is available.”
“Eradicating such provision is not progressive, nor is it justified, in a society where violence against one sex primarily by the other is the experience of millions of women and girls,” she said.
Policy Exchange quotes a letter from North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), which it says will not guarantee same-sex intimate care for patients.
In a letter to a member of the public in February 2021, former Chief Executive of NBT Evelyn Barker said that wards are categorised by self-identified gender.
“These arrangements meet all national standards relating to single sex accommodation,” wrote Barker.
“This includes allowing Trans people to be accommodated according to their presentation, the way they dress, and the name and pronouns they currently use. This may not always accord with the physical sex appearance of the chest or genitalia,” she added.
This means that a biological male will be accommodated with female patients on female wards if requested by a patient who self-identifies as a gender not aligned to their biological sex.
The report said that this reveals the “NHS to be seriously compromised by an ideology that is diminishing the rights of women and girls.”
The report added that the letter fails to take account of clear exceptions within the Equality Act 2010 which allow for same-sex intimate care and same-sex hospital wards.
It was also found that NBT refuses to ask employees their biological sex, instead allowing them to self-identify their gender.
“There is no requirement for clinicians to disclose their gender identity. The Trust accepts that there may be some exceptions where a transgender person will be expected to disclose their gender identity such as where they are required to undertake personal care on vulnerable people. This statement will be rare and, where the staff member has their Gender Recognition Certificate and is fully transitioned to their preferred gender, this will not apply,” it said.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, a clinician is legally required to gain the consent of the patient before they conduct any treatment, test, or examination.
A recent Freedom of Information response also revealed that since January 2019, up to 30 alleged sexual assaults have been committed against female patients at Southmead Hospital, the largest hospital under the provision of NBT.
The response clarified that at least 19 occurrences definitely took place on hospital wards, with the ward explicitly stated as the location of the offence.
The report stated that intimate care can be “distressing and naturally undignified,” particularly for women who may have additional protected characteristics, such as religion or disability.
“Intimate care can be distressing and naturally undignified, by virtue of the fact that a patient is entirely reliant upon their caregiver/clinician washing, touching or carrying out a procedure to intimate personal areas,” said Policy Exchange.
“For example, for a religious person whose beliefs might forbid the opposite sex from touching them in certain contexts, same-sex intimate care is an essential element to that patient’s privacy and dignity,” it added.
NHS policy introduced in 2010 made sure that providers of care were expected to have a “zero-tolerance” approach to mixed-sex accommodation, with strict reporting requirements and financial penalties for hospital trusts that breach these standards.
In 2019, it revised its guidance ( pdf ) to include that under the Equality Act 2010, individuals who have proposed, begun, or completed reassignment of gender enjoy legal protection against discrimination.
“A trans person does not need to have had, or be planning, any medical gender reassignment treatment to be protected under the Equality Act: it is enough if they are undergoing a personal process of changing gender. In addition, good practice requires that clinical responses be patient-centred, respectful and flexible towards all transgender people whether they live continuously or temporarily in a gender role that does not conform to their natal sex,” wrote the NHS.
Policy Exchange said NBT is “unlikely to be unique” in its position as it is acting in accordance with NHS guidance. It warned that the NHS is increasingly “disregarding the realities and immutability of biological sex” and has aligned itself with LGBT+ lobbying groups.
A North Bristol NHS Trust spokeswoman told The Epoch Times by email, “We have nothing further to add to the letter.”
Reporting from The Epoch Times .