NHS doctors told not to assume patients' gender and use no pronouns unless confirmed under new guide

17 February 2023, 20:45 | Updated: 17 February 2023, 20:46

Steve Barclay ordered an urgent investigation into the document
Steve Barclay ordered an urgent investigation into the document. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has ordered an urgent review of guidelines that urge NHS doctors not to assume their patients' gender.

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The 16-page document advises health workers not to use pronouns such as Mr and Mrs until they are confirmed by patients.

Medics were also told to consider that it may have changed since their last appointment, The Mail reported.

In one section titled Gender Identity, the guidelines state: "Asking someone who was assigned female at birth 'Are you Ms, Miss or Mrs?' carries with it an assumption that their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth (i.e. cisgender."

Mr Barclay reportedly "hit the roof" after being shown the document, which was written by NHS England's National Advisor for LGBT Health Dr Michael Brady.

The Kings College Hospital doctor also works with the Government Equalities Office.

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A source close to Mr Barclay stated: "Taxpayers’ money needs to be invested in fixing the NHS so it can provide better care for patients, not squandered on woke pamphlets."

The guide also states: "Use neutral language, until sure.

"When talking to patients, there are some aspects of language that can make people who identify as LGBT+ feel included or excluded.

"Choosing words and phrases that don’t make assumptions about sexual orientation or gender identity creates a more supportive environment for individuals to be themselves."

Dr Brady said the document was a "must read" for NHS staff.

LGBT+ campaign group Stonewall penned a forward to the guidelines, stating: "We hope that these guidelines will be shared widely throughout the sector."

An NHS spokesman said: "While this is a Government and NIHR report, the NHS is committed to improving access, experience and outcomes for LGBT+ communities and this guide seeks to support healthcare professionals with doing that."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "This guide has not been endorsed by the Government."

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