Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC

18 June 2024, 10:30 | Updated: 18 June 2024, 10:45

Keir Starmer says hospital 'side rooms' could accommodate trans people

By Will Conroy

Sir Keir Starmer has emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces and said “side rooms” can be used in hospitals to accommodate transgender people.

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The Labour leader, who was taking calls on LBC with Nick Ferrari, blamed the current Conservative government for cases of single-sex hospital wards not being routinely enforced.

Sir Keir was taking a call from Emma in Greenwich who questioned how Labour's pledge to make it easier to obtain gender recognition certificates (GRCs) can work in line with the protection of single-sex spaces.

When asked about single-sex spaces and whether the two policies add up, Sir Keir said: “They do... I passionately think we should protect single spaces for women and girls, that's something I've been clear about for a very long time.

“Whether that’s in sports, whether that's in the work I did, particularly in the support refuges for those that have been subjected to violence - physical or sexual - it's very very important that we preserve that.

Sir Keir during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show
Sir Keir during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show. Picture: Alamy

“Or indeed in our hospitals. It's actually NHS policy for wards to be single-sex and the only reason that isn't routinely the case now is because the government has lost control of our hospitals.

“But that is the policy and we want to reinforce and protect that.”

Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, transgender people can apply to have their gender altered on official documents.

Labour is set to make it easier to obtain a GRC by allowing a single family doctor to sign off on the decision under plans to “simplify” the process.

The policy would include scrapping a panel of doctors and lawyers that approve GRCs to stop the “futile and dehumanising parts” of changing gender.

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When challenged by Nick on whether a biological male who had a GRC would be allowed on a women’s ward at an NHS hospital, Sir Keir said: “No it’s a single-sex ward.

“You would be accommodated but not on a women’s ward. Hospitals already do this, there are ways that this can be done, lots of wards have side rooms and that sort of thing.

“I've obviously spent quite a lot of time in hospitals, many wards these days do have side rooms for general use and (GRC holders) can be accommodated.”

Currently, to obtain a GCR, someone has to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, have been living in their affirmed gender for two years and intend to live in that ­gender for the rest of their life.

Anneliese Dodds, the shadow women and equalities secretary, has previously said: “We want to see the process for gender recognition modernised while protecting single-sex spaces for biological women."

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