Barclay unveils plans to stop trans women using female hospital wards

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2023

MANCHESTER: Trans women could be prevented from using female-only hospital wards under plans announced by Steve Barclay. The Health Secretary told the Conservative Party Conference he would look into changing the NHS constitution to address concerns about trans women using wards intended for biologically female patients.

The move would offer the same for male-only wards and trans men. It would also ensure that patients’ requests to have intimate care provided by someone of the same sex are respected.

Mr Barclay told the conference in Manchester he had already undertaken similar work, pointing to an intervention on “unacceptable changes to the NHS website that erased women from conditions such as cervical cancer”, and stopping the NHS from making staff declare their pronouns.

He went on: “That is why today I am going further, by announcing that we will change the NHS constitution following a consultation later this year to make sure we respect the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients, recognise the importance of different biological needs and protect the rights of women.”

The Health Secretary will open a consultation on changes to the NHS constitution aimed at bringing forward the changes. Outside the conference hall, Mr Barclay added: “We need a commonsense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS – that is why today I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients.

“And I can today confirm that sex-specific language has now been fully restored to online health advice pages about cervical and ovarian cancer and the menopause. It is vital that women’s voices are heard in the NHS and the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman gave her backing to the plans, telling broadcasters on a visit to Bolton: “Trans women have no place in women’s wards or indeed any safe space relating to biological women.

“And the Health Secretary is absolutely right to clarify and make it clear that biological men should not have treatments in the same wards and in the same safe spaces as biological women.

“This is about protecting women’s dignity, and women’s safety and women’s privacy. And that’s why I’m incredibly supportive and I welcome the announcement today by the Health Secretary.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Barclay confirmed reports that he would announce the creation of three new medical schools at the University of Worcester, the University of Chester and Brunel University in Uxbridge, west London.He also announced a £30 million fund aimed at speeding up the adoption of new technology within the NHS.