An NHS policy which allows men who claim to be women to be placed on female-only hospital wards is a “safeguarding disaster”, a Peer has warned.
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne has called for the policy – known as Annex B – to be scrapped, and for the NHS to take proper regard of single-sex spaces in future guidance.
She said that “we have sleepwalked into a situation where gender self-identification, elevated by NHS policy in defiance of the law, trumps sensible decisions about patient dignity and safety”.
Lady Nicholson informed the House of Lords that a woman was raped on a single-sex ward, yet the hospital told the police it could not have happened, since there was no male present. Almost a year later, the hospital admitted that there was a man on the ward who identified as a woman.
The peer explained: “During that year she has almost come to the edge of a nervous breakdown, because being disbelieved about being raped in hospital has been such an appalling shock. The hospital, with all its CCTV, has had to admit that the rape happened and that it was committed by a man.”
it is completely wrong that the National Health Service should be instructing or allowing staff to mislead patients – to tell a straightforward lie
She added: “The result of Annex B is that hospital trusts inform ward sisters and nurses that if there is a male, as a trans person, in a female ward, and a female patient or anyone complains, they must be told that it is not true – there is no male there.
“I think it is completely wrong that the National Health Service should be instructing or allowing staff to mislead patients – to tell a straightforward lie. It is not acceptable.”
The NHS is currently reviewing Annex B. One of the doctors leading the review is known to be NHS England’s ‘LGBT Adviser’, but a coalition of women’s rights groups has written to the Health Secretary saying they are not being consulted.
In Scotland, Green Party co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie have attempted to silence JK Rowling over her opposition to the Scottish Government’s radical gender reform plans.
Slater claimed: “The whole conversation and misrepresentation do indeed put trans lives at risk.”
Writing in the Independent, columnist Jordan Tyldesley commented: “We’ve arrived at a place where some see JK Rowling like some sort of hate preacher – it’s as absurd as it is troubling.”
Earlier this month, JK Rowling warned that allowing people to change their legal sex based on self-declaration “will harm the most vulnerable women in society”.
The Harry Potter author tweeted that it will threaten “those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women. Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.”
If passed, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would make it much easier for Scots to choose their own legal sex, including reducing the minimum age to 16.