Do not call patients sir or madam! GPs should ditch gender titles in waiting rooms to be more LGBT-inclusive, doctors say
- EXCLUSIVE: GPs should avoid saying “Mr” or “Mrs” in the waiting room
- The notice was released at an annual RCGP conference in London today
- Other ideas to make practices more inclusive were rainbow badges and the flag
GPs should not call patients Mr or Mrs in waiting rooms in order to be more inclusive of the LGBT community, it has been suggested.
Along with ditching gender titles, another recommendation was to have staff wear pronoun badges — such as “they,” “she,” or “he” — so patients feel comfortable.
The suggestions were made at a Royal College of GPs conference in London, during a discussion on how to make surgeries more inclusive for the LGBT+ community.
It has been described as a ‘safe space’, with GPs able to come up with ideas anonymously.
Other suggestions included placing LGBT+ flags in practices and creating more gender-neutral bathrooms.
It comes amid the Health Secretary’s crackdown on gender-neutral language in leading health advice for women, following a series of revelations on MailOnline.
At an event titled “how to be an ally for LGBTQIA+ patients”, GPs saw a diagram called the “gender bread person” to illustrate the difference between gender identity, expression, gender and sexual orientation
NHS hospitals have spent more than £800,000 on gender-neutral toilets over the past four years, MailOnline can reveal. Map shows: The 16 UK hospitals that built new gender neutral toilets or converted old gender neutral toilets from 2018 to 2022
Here are some examples of the waking language shifts that have engulfed NHS communications. Some of these examples have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals
Say ‘women’ not ‘people with ovaries’, Sajid Javid orders NHS
Sajid Javid has said he is ready to wage war on gender-neutral language after he called on the NHS to stop removing the word ‘women’ from its online health advice.
The minister has repeatedly said he disagrees with the health service removing the word from its ovarian cancer guidance webpage.
‘Women’ does not appear in the disease overview on the NHS.uk website, but is replaced by the ambiguous and gender-neutral term ‘anyone’.
The word first appears on the third page of the website’s ovarian cancer section. “Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer. This includes women, trans men, non-binary people, and intersex people with ovaries,” it says.
NHS Digital bosses have been warned that future changes to gendered language must be approved by officials in Mr Javid’s Department of Health, reports The Sun.
The Health Secretary previously told Sky News that ‘common sense and good language’ should be used to ‘give people the best possible patient care’.
At an event called “how to be an ally for LGBTQIA+ patients”, GPs were shown a diagram called the “genderbread person” to illustrate the difference between gender identity, expression, sex and gender. sexual orientation.
Dozens of GPs brainstormed ways to “be an ally” for patients in the community.
One suggestion included “don’t call ‘Mr or Mrs anyone’ in the waiting room” and for GPs to educate themselves and their teams on pronouns.
GPs have said they can wear rainbow lanyards or pins on their uniforms and put up flags in their offices to indicate their practice is inclusive.
Doctors said these steps were “subtle and cost you nothing,” but members of the LGBT+ community see it and “know they won’t face hostility.”
Family doctors also suggested including pronouns in their email signatures and name tags on their uniforms to “put people at ease” to then share their pronouns.
Making bathrooms gender-neutral is another “big thing” that can make patients more comfortable, doctors said.
MailOnline last month revealed that NHS hospitals have spent over £800,000 over the past four years to make bathrooms gender-neutral.
Figures show nearly 740 new unisex toilets have been built or converted since 2018 – including during the Covid pandemic.
GPs today also suggested that all staff working in practices could have regular meetings to ensure ‘biases don’t creep in’.
A family doctor requested that LGBT+ practices be taught during their training.
It comes after Sajid Javid this week promised to reverse gender-neutral language in NHS advice after MailOnline revealed the term ‘women’ was being quietly erased by health chiefs.
NHS England data shows that 64% of total GP appointments were face-to-face in May. This figure is the second highest since the height of the first wave of Covid forced the majority of appointments to be held virtually. But it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels, when eight out of 10 dates were in person
This website exposed how “female” and “female” had been removed from online advice on menopause, which is unique to biological women.
Health chiefs said the decision had to be ‘inclusive’ and had not been a mistake.
In a tweet on Wednesday referencing the MailOnline story, Mr Javid said ‘language matters’.
The Health Secretary added: ‘I have made it clear that the word ‘woman’ should not be removed from key women’s health pages.
“I have been assured that the changes highlighted below, along with others, are being rolled back.”
MailOnline previously revealed advice for womb cancer had been asexualized and terms such as breastfeeding were removed from advice for new mothers.
Experts have warned that degendered medical advice could be dangerous for women by over-complicating vital health messages.