Patients Have No Right to Know if Medics Are Transgender, NHS Warns

NHS patients have no right to know if they are being treated by transgender medics and may be found guilty of discrimination if they refuse their care, according to new guidance from the NHS Confederation.

The report states that patients can only request a same-sex staff member in limited circumstances, such as during an intimate examination or if they are a victim of sexual violence. However, there is no clear clinical benefit to requesting a different staff member based on their transgender status.

The guidance emphasizes that there will be “extremely few circumstances” in which a request not to be treated or assisted by a trans or non-binary person would be legally upheld. It also states that patients have no right to be informed if the person treating them is trans or non-binary.

Trans and non-binary staff should be made aware of a patient’s request for a same-sex carer and asked if they feel comfortable treating the patient. The comfort of the staff member should be prioritized, and a non-binary medic should not be forced to deliver care if it would cause undue distress or invalidate their lived experience of gender.

The guidance has been met with some criticism. Maya Forstater, executive director of the campaign group Sex Matters, condemned the document as “legally illiterate” and said it “encourages sexual assault by staff on patients.” NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor responded by stating that the guide is meant to help members be effective and active allies to their trans and nonbinary staff and does not constitute a formal policy for the NHS.


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