The Government has reverted online NHS advice pages to ‘sex-specific’ language, in a move to avoid ‘confusing and unclear’ information.
Health secretary Steve Barclay announced during his speech at the Conservative Conference today that sex-specific language has been fully restored to online NHS advice pages.
Minsters ordered the rewriting of the advice following an outcry from patients and frontline NHS staff, according to the Government, and it applies to condition-specific advice pages on the national NHS website where the condition is only relevant to either sex, for example, cervical cancer, menopause, and prostate cancer.
This is part of ‘efforts to ensure women’s voices are always heard’ in the NHS and their health is not ‘put at risk by confusing and unclear public information’, the Government said.
A new standard will also ensure ‘relevant biological differences’ are always included in NHS guidance.
Mr Barclay also announced that a consultation will be launched this year to change the NHS constitution for England ‘to address growing concerns raised by both patients and staff about biological men being allowed onto women’s hospital wards’.
The move will look to ensure that female or male-only wards ‘are protected’ and that requests to have intimate care provided by someone of the same sex are respected.
Mr Barclay said: ‘We need a common-sense 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.’
The Government said this work was carried out alongside the launch of a new online women’s health hub designed to ‘provide a one-stop-shop to support women at every stage of their lives’.
During his speech in Manchester, he also announced a £30m fund to speed up adoption of new health technology in the NHS and 205 new medical school places.
Meanwhile, during an event at the conference yesterday, primary care minister Neil O’Brien said that the lack of focus on new GP provision when new housing is built is ‘mad’.