New NHS guidelines in Scotland say that women who complain about sharing a ward with biological men are “transphobic” and should be treated like racists.
Staff will be expected to say that there are “no men present” in response to a complaint from a female patient sharing a ward with a man who says he is a woman.
Women’s rights campaigner Susan Sinclair said the guidance completely ignored legitimate concerns.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s ‘Gender Reassignment Policy’ means that it may be the person who makes the complaint, rather than the transgender patient, who will be removed from the ward.
The advice describes a scenario where a nurse says she ‘understands the concerns’ of a patient who objects to having a biological male in the ward. Such a response was described as ‘not appropriate’.
It adds that were “a white woman” to complain to a nurse about “sharing a ward with a black patient” staff are expected “to act in a manor [sic] that deals with the expressed behaviour immediately”.
Susan Sinclair, an independent researcher on women’s rights, said: “It’s important for hospitals to maintain single-sex wards, and for the privacy and dignity of all to be upheld. This policy fails to do that.”
She added that the comparison with racism was “abhorrent” and “completely fails to acknowledge the fact that wards are separated by sex”, not by race.
But in response a spokesman for the Health Board said: “We ask that all patients, staff and visitors adopt an understanding that we are all part of the same diverse gender spectrum.”
Earlier this month, a rape survivor was branded ‘transphobic’ for requesting a female doctor.
Clare Dimyon asked to be seen by a female doctor as she did not feel comfortable being examined by a man.
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”.