A sexual abuse survivor’s request to be seen by a female doctor when she went for a mammogram, was described as “highly discriminatory” by an NHS Trust.
Clare Dimyon asked to be seen by a female doctor before going for a breast screening last year.
She was raped when she was “little more than a child” and did not feel comfortable being examined by someone born male.
‘Diversity and inclusion’
The hospital granted her request, but her letter was highlighted by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust’s equality and diversity guidance as “highly discriminatory” and “unacceptable”.
The trust said: “It is not possible to guarantee to any patient that they will only be treated by a clinician assigned to a specific gender at birth and, as an organisation that prides itself on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, nor would we wish to do so”.
It also compared requesting a female clinician for an intimate examination to requesting someone of a particular “background or ethnicity”.
Dimyon said she was shocked because it was “long-standing practice to ask for a lady doctor or lady nurse”.
“We have an examination which involves clinicians handling your breasts and placing them on a mammography table in order for those pictures to be taken.
“Even on the door they say ‘gentlemen stay outside’, meaning husbands and partners, I suppose, because they recognise this is an intimate examination.”
Following Dimyon’s complaint, the Trust performed a U-turn and said it had now removed the letters from its guidance and is “very sorry for any offence or upset caused”.