British medical patients could be found guilty of discrimination if they do not allow a transgender medical professional to provide care for them, per the National Health Service (NHS). Those in the upper echelons of the healthcare system have suggested that patients do not have a right to know the biological sex of those who care for them, per The Telegraph.
The report that published this information partnered with the LGBT Foundation, and it said that patients can only request a same-sex medical professional to care for them in limited circumstances, such as when they are given an intimate examination. Additionally, transgender medical professionals can refuse to treat patients if they feel uncomfortable doing so.
The new rollout suggests that when a patient expresses a desire to be treated by a man or a woman, “the comfort of the staff member should be prioritised.” The report also notes that patients have “no right” to know whether the medical professional is “trans or non-binary,” adding that it “would likely be discriminatory for the patient to refuse to be treated or cared for by a trans person, unless clear and evidenced clinical harm may result to the patient.”
The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said: “Trust leaders are committed to ensuring all their staff are treated with dignity and respect and the publication of the NHS’s first ever EDI plan is a welcome step towards that ambition.”
“Nobody working for the NHS should be subject to bullying, harassment, discrimination, or violence because of who they are, yet survey after survey shows that these behaviours are sadly all too common in the health service.”
The recent development also pertains to those with dementia, who are to be “challenged” if they insist that they do not want to be treated by a transgender person. The Telegraph stated that relatives of the ill “may be removed from the premises” if they express the same discriminatory views as the one being treated.
The new revelations have been met with pushback on social media, with one Twitter user posting: “Patients with dementia ‘should be challenged’ What happened to ‘patients first’? We have an NHS run for the benefit of its staff.”
Another Twitter user posted: “This document is full of misinformation that directs leaders in the NHS to actively undermine the rights of female patients and withhold care, which in some instances may constitute unlawful discrimination. It should be withdrawn immediately.”
However, a non-binary professional can refuse to treat a patient, with the report stating that they “should not be forced to deliver care if this would cause undue distress or invalidate their lived experience of gender.” The development comes after the NHS published its first equality, diversion, and inclusion (EDI) strategy.