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Women's rights groups praise ban on trans women in female-only wards

Return of common sense! Anti-woke campaigners praise pledge to end gender-neutral language in NHS and stop trans women from using female-only wards as Steve Barclay vows to protect women’s dignity

  • Phrases like ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘pregnant people’ are set to be in the firing line 
  • READ MORE: How woke bug infecting the NHS is erasing basic biological terms

Women’s rights campaigners and health experts today welcomed Steve Barclay’s commitment to fight wokery and restore ‘common sense’ in the NHS.

The Health Secretary detailed the move in a speech at the Tory Party conference as he slammed the ‘unacceptable’ use of gender-neutral language on advice pages for female-only conditions like cervical cancer.

Sex-specific language has now been ‘fully restored’ on offering health sections as a result of his intervention, he said. 

Mr Barclay also boasted that he had stopped the NHS from ‘ordering staff to declare pronouns to each new patient’.

As part of his speech in Manchester, Mr Barclay revealed he was ‘going further’ as he unveiled proposals to ban trans women — biological men who identify as being the opposite gender — using female-only hospital wards. 

He argued it was ‘vital women’s voices are heard’ and the ‘privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected’.

Trans-inclusive terms such as ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘birthing person’ have their way into NHS usage.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured here at the The Conservative Party Conference today in Manchester) has set out how he is prompting the use of ‘sex-specific’ language in the NHS

Woman, breast feeding and vagina all used to be standard terms used within the medical community. But they are just a selection of words that have been replaced by some woke NHS trusts, private hospitals and charities as part of an inclusivity push

‘We know what a woman is, and I know the vast majority of NHS staff and patients do too,’ he said. 

‘That is why I ordered a reversal of unacceptable changes to the NHS website that erased women for conditions such as cervical cancer, and stopped the NHS from ordering staff to declare pronouns to each new patient.’ 

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.’

MailOnline reported in July that the NHS had backtracked on the rollout of gender-inclusive language across these pages. 

READ MORE: Fury over ‘insane’ call to let pregnant trans men take testosterone despite risk to babies – as woke, Government-funded researchers claim gender-affirming care is more important than having a ‘normal’ kid 

Mr Barclay could go further on woke language with The Telegraph reporting that a source close him stated: ‘The Secretary of State is fed up with this agenda and the damage it’s causing, language like “chestfeeding”, talking about pregnant “people” rather than women. 

‘It exasperates the vast majority of people, and he is determined to take action on it.’

‘He is concerned that women’s voices should be heard on healthcare and that too often wokery and ideological dogma is getting in the way of this’

Health experts have repeatedly warned that such de-sexing in the NHS is dangerous because it can overcomplicate vital health messaging for women.

One of those, Professor Jenny Gamble, a midwifery expert from Coventry University, praised Mr Barclay’s announcement. 

‘These changes are very welcome. Sex matters in health care and clear communication is vital,’ she told MailOnline. 

Mr Barclay also revealed plans to ban trans women accessing sex-specific spaces in the NHS in a move to give men and women the right to only share wards with those who match their biological sex.

‘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,’ he said.  

Under the proposed changes, trans patients could be housed in separate accommodation or their own rooms. 

It marks a reverse 2021 NHS guidance that said trans patients could be placed on single-sex wards on the basis of the gender with which they identified.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman today backed the move, stating that trans women ‘have no place in women’s wards or indeed any safe space relating to biological women’.

She said: ‘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.’

A spokesperson for With Woman, a coalition of activists and maternity workers, told MailOnline they welcomed Mr Barclay’s plans ‘to use clear language such as breastfeeding and mother’.

They said: ‘This makes health information and public health messaging clear and accessible to those who need it most, ultimately benefiting women and their babies as health advice is likely to be easily understood.

‘We also welcome this commitment to single sex wards that will help ensure the dignity, privacy and safety of women in hospital, and already in a vulnerable situation.’

Ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid promised to reverse gender neutral language in NHS advice after MailOnline revealed the term ‘women’ had been quietly erased from menopause advice in June. His successors have yet to commit to the same

Mr Barclay’s speech marks a change in NHS policy to better balance the needs of women with other groups such as those with gender dysphoria, they added.

Feminist author Milli Hill told this website that it’s ‘great to see’ that the Government is making ‘the important distinction between sex and gender in health care’.

She said: ‘Not only is clarity in health care messaging essential and potentially life saving, but many women don’t like to see the use of words like “women” and “mother” diminishing in use, because they feel their identity is being eroded to suit a very small minority. 

‘It’s also very good news for women’s safety and dignity that sex-specific wards will be provided.’

The Daily Mail revealed in August this year that shocking NHS rules mean patients who only occasionally identify as women can share female-only hospital wards.

This guidance means that trans women can use the facilities they wish, regardless of whether or not they have had surgery or legally changed sex.

Many NHS hospitals make it clear that patients need only ‘temporarily’ present as women to enter female-only bays and bathrooms.

Additionally, some women have reported being denied care or having their operations delayed after requesting care from only female staff.

Mr Barclay’s commitment to erase gender-neutral language in the NHS comes a year after MailOnline’s coverage of the issue last year prompted then- Health Secretary Sajid Javid to vow to reverse the language changes. 

How dare you say ‘women’! From chestfeeding to bonus hole, how woke gender-neutral language is sweeping the NHS and medical world 

‘Chestfeeding’, ‘second biological parent’, and ‘bonus hole’ are just some gender-neutral terms that have swept the medical profession.

Proponents of such woke phrases claim they are more inclusive to trans patients, who might be triggered by biological terms like ‘breast’ or ‘vagina’.

But experts have raised alarm over the movement, warning it is overcomplicating vital health messaging. 

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has promised to reverse the tide of ‘ideological’ inclusive language in the NHS. 

Here, MailOnline has collected examples of gender-neutral language that have swept the world of healthcare:

The term chestfeeding is used throughout the page with the term ‘breast’ omitted. Breastmilk likewise has been replaced with ‘milk from the chest’

Breastfeeding – chestfeeding

The NHS website’s page on chestfeeding, under its ‘Having a baby if you’re LGBT+’ section, is targeted at trans and non-binary patients who have given birth.

It makes no mention of breasts and refers to breast reduction operations as ‘top surgery’.

The page has been criticised as ‘ideological’ and accused of ‘normalising’ a potentially dangerous chest-binding technique.

An April 2022 report from the LGBT Foundation said ‘traditional’ terminology around breastfeeding ‘may induce dysphoria or discomfort for trans and non-binary parents’, who may prefer the term chestfeeding to breastfeeding.

The Government-funded report urged the NHS to use inclusive language and not ‘guess the language someone might use to describe themselves based on how they look or sound, or who they are in a relationship with’.  

READ MORE: NHS managers are told not to offer sympathy to female colleagues worried about sharing toilets with biological men in woke handbook

Breast milk – human milk

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust began referring to breastmilk as ‘human milk’ in official guidance in February 2021.

In a web page, it unveiled ‘gender inclusive’ phrases it wanted its staff to use.

These included terms like ‘human milk’ rather than ‘breast milk’ to avoid offending transgender people.

At the time, the Trust — which has since merged to become University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust — said using ‘gender inclusive’ phrases was part of a drive to stamp out ‘mainstream transphobia’.

The move was welcomed by inclusivity campaigners at the time, with the group TransActual tweeted: ‘This is fantastic, well done. Let’s hope many more trusts follow suit. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.’ 

The guidance, titled Gender Inclusive Language in Perinatal Services, has since been taken down. 

Expectant mothers – pregnant  people 

During the height of the pandemic, an NHS Trust sparked a row by calling expectant mothers ‘pregnant people’.

NHS East of England tweeted a quote in May 2021 from one of their antenatal and newborn screening coordinators which said: ‘Our job is to implement all the screening programs for pregnant people and their newborn babies.’

The post from triggered a debate at the time, with one person writing on social media: ‘Pregnant women. Fixed it for you.’

Another tweeted: ‘Women! Pregnant women. Stop this nonsense.’ 

In the document it asks ‘patients of childbearing potential’ for the date their last menstrual period started

Cromwell Hospital (pictured) has come under fire after referring to women as ‘patients of childbearing potential’

Father – parent, co-parent or second biological parent

In its February 2021 guidance, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust called for the term ‘father’ to be replaced.

It suggested using ‘parent’, ‘co-parent’ or ‘second biological parent’, depending on the circumstances.

However, it said the language changes do not always apply when talking with patients one-on-one, as wording should then ‘reflect the gender identity of the individual’.

Maternity service – perinatal service

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust became the first in the country to formally implement a ‘gender inclusive’ overhaul in February 2021.

Under the move, its maternity services department was deemed too gendered and instead renamed as ‘perinatal services’. 

Perinatal care is a broad term for the treatment a woman receives both while she is pregnant and for the 12 months after she gives birth. 

Here are some examples of the woke language changes that have engulfed NHS communications. Some of these examples have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals 

Mother – birthing people or birthing parent

An NHS Trust used the term ‘birthing people’ instead of ‘mothers’.

NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust said it was seeking ‘birthing people’ to provide feedback on its perinatal services in a social media post last August.

But the Trust, which specialises in mental health treatment, was accused of leaving biological females out of the conversation by its failure to use the terms ‘women’ or ‘mothers’ in its communications. 

Some members of the public called it ‘dehumanising’ and ‘dangerous nonsense’. 

Similar language trickled through to midwifery degrees over the last year. 

At the University of Bradford, an internal document detailing the course specifications for midwives who trained in 2022/23 refers to ‘childbearing people’ four times and ‘birthing people’ eight times. 

In contrast, the word ‘women’ is mentioned just three times in the 11-page document, while ‘mother’ is not mentioned at all. 

At Cumbria University, all references to mothers on the course description for students who started in 2022/23 were replaced with ‘birthing parents’. 

The midwifery course pages at Kingston and Cardiff universities also talk about ‘birthing people’ and ‘pregnant people’ respectively, although they do also mention ‘women’. 

Vagina – bonus hole

A charity suggested the vagina could be referred to as ‘the bonus hole’ to avoid upsetting non-binary or trans men.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust featured the term on a page for health professionals who are treating patients suffering from the disease.

The trust insisted it was not suggesting the term should be used by all women — but added it was important to reach trans men and non-binary people. 

But female rights campaigners last month rounded on the alternative glossary, branding it both ‘misogynistic’ and ‘utterly dehumanising’. 

NHS Digital has now partially amended the webpage to include the word ‘women’ once at the end

Vaginal birth – frontal birth or lower birth

The term ‘vaginal birth’ was labelled gender-loaded by the LGBT Foundation in an April 2022 report. 

The document, based on a survey of 121 trans Brits on their experience of pregnancy, recommended that healthcare staff use ‘frontal’ or ‘lower birth’ instead.

The charity also said some trans and non-binary people would benefit from having a private space in hospitals to give birth, so that they are not made uncomfortable by seeing women. 

It detailed the experience of one trans person, who said: ‘I didn’t have to go to a ward full of women after giving birth, I was actually provided with a private room for me and baby which was very helpful and accommodating for me and my gender identity.’ 

Woman – patient of childbearing age, anyone who has a cervix, period or ovaries, people who know they are pregnant

In another example of wokery, NHS advice pages about women’s health were found to have quietly scrubbed the word ‘women’.

An early version of the NHS menopause page described it as being ‘when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally’.

But this was quietly changed in May last year to: ‘Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels.’

However, in an update the term ‘women’ features again. The advice now states that the menopause ‘usually affects women between the ages of 45 and 55’.

Another web page on ovarian cancer used to state it was ‘one of the most common types of cancer for women’. 

But it was updated in February 2022 to state ‘women, trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with ovaries’ can be affected. 

Like the menopause page this was updated following outrage over the changes to have the term women reintroduced. 

The health service also came under fire for removed references to ‘women’ from its pages about miscarriages.

Its site swapped ‘women who know they’re pregnant’ with ‘people who know they are pregnant’.

In June last year the NHS reinstated the word ‘women’ on the page after receiving a barrage of criticism.

In a case in August this year, Cromwell Hospital in London, which is not part of the NHS, was criticised for asking ‘patients of a childbearing potential’ if they could be pregnant rather than stating ‘women’.

Women – ‘people who bleed’

A taxpayer funded health information page on periods was harshly criticised last year for omitting women and girls and instead referring to ‘people who bleed’.

The £84,000 guidance on periods was published by Bloody Brilliant, an online resource commissioned by the devolved Labour Government and NHS Wales.

It was set up in 2021 with the aim of ‘breaking the taboo around periods by encouraging conversation on one of the most normal, natural topics’.

The website consisted of half a dozen period-related topics, including the science behind menstruation, advice about using period products such as tampons, and how to support those going through the process. 

But it failed to mention women or girls once in its guidance, instead being described as ‘anyone with a uterus’.

In a section about ending period stigma, the website says: ‘No more hiding, covering up or awkward euphemisms, we need some straight-talking.’ 

Medics and campaigners described the language as ‘infuriating’ and ‘confusing’, warning it would complicate health messaging for vulnerable girls.

Bloody Brilliant, an NHS commissioned website designed to provide information about periods and bust stigma surrounding menstruation, has been slammed for refusing to mention ‘women’ and ‘girls’, instead referring to ‘people who bleeds’

After MailOnline exposed the story, the branch of NHS Wales responsible for the advice confirmed the language would be changed to include ‘women’ and ‘girls’.

‘We want Bloody Brilliant to be a resource that is authentic and relevant to our audience and so we have listened carefully to recent feedback on our use of language,’ NHS Wales Health Collaborative said in a statement.

‘Having considered a wide spectrum of views, we will be making some changes to include referring to young women and girls rather than “people who bleed”.’

Menstruation is a process unique to biological females and trans women cannot have one.

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