‘Father’ reinstated to NHS pregnancy book

The words “dad” and “father” have been reinstated to an NHS pregnancy handbook, in a move welcomed as a recognition of the “vital contribution” dads make to children’s lives.

Specific mention of a male parent was removed from the NHS Health Scotland handbook in 2012 after one complaint that the publication was not inclusive of people in same-sex relationships.

The guide used the word “partner” instead, but now “dad” and “father” again appear in the book.

Strange logic

Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “It was always a strange logic which prompted the NHS to exclude fathers from its parenting guide in the name of being ‘inclusive’.

“The fact that fathers have now been put very much back into the script is a welcome acknowledgement not only that fathers exist but that they have a vital contribution to make to the lives and development of their children.”

Alex Johnstone MSP also welcomed the change, describing it as a “victory for common sense”.

Best start

The book, entitled Ready Steady Baby, was first published in 2008 and runs to over 220 pages.

This year’s edition states: “We also use the term ‘partner’, which includes the baby’s dad, your partner, husband, civil partner, or other primary caregiver, all of whom have a very important role to play in the care and upbringing of your baby.”

It has also a specific section online for dads, which says: “Find out everything you need to know about getting yourself as prepared as possible for becoming a dad and giving your baby the best start.”

Man and woman

NHS Health Scotland said reinstating “dad” and “father” “ensures that our content is inclusive and accessible to everyone who has a primary role in the care and upbringing of a baby”.

Responding to the change in 2012, Norman Wells said: “No matter how much effort is made to present positive images of families headed by same-sex couples, the fact remains it takes a man and a woman to create a child.”