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Hospital Wards: Gender Recognition

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL3141, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Delivering same-sex Accommodation guidance, published in September 2019, provides for someone who is undergoing a personal process of changing gender but who (1) is not planning to undergo, (2) is not currently undergoing, or (3) has not undergone, gender reassignment by changing physiological or other attributes of sex; and if so, why.

Answered on

18 May 2020

In September 2019, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a revised version of the guidance on Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation. The team are reviewing feedback received and considering further revisions.

The guidance is clear that providers of National Health Service-funded care are expected to have a zero-tolerance approach to mixed-sex accommodation, except where it is in the overall best interest of all patients affected. There are some clinical circumstances where mixed sex accommodation can be justified. These are few, and mainly confined to patients who need highly specialised care, such as that delivered in critical care units.

There are currently no plans to withdraw the guidance. The guidance is relevant to all patients including patients who have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment as set out in the Equality Act 2010. That is, a person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning sex. The review will include consideration of whether the language used within the guidance needs to be clearer.

NHS trusts have not been asked to provide the information required to make an assessment of the impact of allowing patients to self-identify their gender and there are no plans to ask them to do so. NHS trusts will be required to provide single sex services to patients, unless it is appropriate to do otherwise based on the patient’s clinical condition.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care