NHS Scotland has warned that allowing patients to wipe their biological sex from their medical records could be a “clinical risk”.
Currently, patients in Scotland can replace references to their biological sex with their “lived identity” without any medical evidence.
But in draft guidance, which is currently under consultation, NHS Scotland says this could have “unintended negative consequences to overall health”.
The draft guidelines explain: “Decisions based on, for example test results, can differ between those with chromosome XX and those with chromosome XY due to the physiological and biological differences. Therefore there could be a clinical risk if the biological sex is not known by the clinician”.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, one clinician said: “The classic example of where this could create a problem is in haemoglobin, where abnormal readings can be a red flag for cancer.
“The healthy ranges are different for men and women, so if it is assumed a sample has come from a male when in fact it’s from a female, really vital information could be missed.”
In its proposals, NHS Scotland recommends that patients should be informed of such dangers when requesting to alter their medical records.
Last year, it was revealed that hospital staff across England were asking patients if they planned to undergo ‘sex-swap’ surgery, following the introduction of a new computer system.
London’s King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital used the EPIC system, which required medics to complete a “sexual orientation and gender identity form” as part of each patient’s Electronic Patient Record.
The form asked for a patient’s preferred pronouns and an inventory of which reproductive organs were “present at birth”, and those which may have been “enhanced or constructed” due to ‘sex-swap’ procedures.