'Doctors shouldn't call out Mr or Mrs in the waiting room'

Don’t call patients Mr or Mrs! GP surgeries should ditch gender titles in waiting rooms to be more inclusive to LGBT community, doctors say

  • EXCLUSIVE: GPs should avoid saying ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ in the waiting room
  • The advice was issued at a RCGP annual conference in London today
  • Other ideas to make practices more inclusive were rainbow badges and flag

GP practices shouldn’t call patients Mr or Mrs in waiting rooms in order to be more inclusive to the LGBT community, it has been suggested.

As well as ditching gender titles, another recommendation was getting staff to wear pronoun badges — such as ‘they’, ‘she’ or ‘he’ — so patients feel at ease.

The suggestions were made at a Royal College of GPs conference in London, during a discussion on how to make surgeries more inclusive to the LGBT+ community.

It was described as a ‘safe space’, with GPs able to put forward ideas anonymously.

Other suggestions included putting up LGBT+ flags in practices and making more bathrooms gender-neutral.

It comes amid the Health Secretary’s crackdown on gender-neutral language in key health advice for women, following a string of MailOnline revelations. 

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 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 hospitals in Britain that have built new gender-neutral toilets or converted old gender-specific ones from 2018 to 2022

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 

Sajid Javid said he is prepared to wage war against gender-free language after he demanded the NHS stop dropping the word ‘women’ from its online health advice.

The minister has repeatedly said he does not agree with the health service removing the word from its ovarian cancer guidance webpage.

‘Women’ does not appear in the overview of the disease on the NHS.uk website, instead being replaced with the ambiguous and gender-neutral term ‘anyone’. 

The word first appears on the third page of the ovarian cancer section of the website. ‘Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer. This includes women, trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with ovaries,’ it states.

NHS Digital bosses have been warned future changes to gendered language must be rubber-stamped by officials at Mr Javid’s Department of Health, reports The Sun.

The Health Secretary previously told Sky News ‘common sense and the right 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 sexual orientation.

Dozens of GPs brainstormed ways to ‘be an ally’ to patients within the community. 

One suggestion included ‘don’t call out in the waiting room “Mr or Mrs somebody”‘ and for GPs to educate themselves and their teams about pronouns. 

GPs said they could wear rainbow lanyards or pins on their uniform and put up flags in their office to indicate that their practice is inclusive.

Doctors said these steps were ‘subtle and don’t cost you anything’ but those within the LGBT+ community see it and ‘know they’re not going to face hostility’.

Family doctors also suggested including pronouns in their email signature and name tags on their uniform to ‘make people feel at ease’ to then share their pronoun.

Making bathrooms gender-neutral is another ‘big thing’ that can make patients more comfortable, medics said.

MailOnline last month revealed that NHS hospitals spent more than £800,000 over the last four years to make bathrooms gender neutral.

Figures show nearly 740 new unisex toilets were either built or converted since 2018 — including during the Covid pandemic.

GPs today also suggested that all staff working at practices could have regular meetings to ensure ‘biases aren’t creeping in’.

One family doctor called for LGBT+ practices to 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 64 per cent of total GP appointments were face-to-face in May. The figure is the second-highest since the height of the first Covid wave forced the majority of appointments to be held virtually. But it is still well below pre-pandemic levels, when eight in 10 appointments took place in-person

This website exposed how ‘women’ and ‘woman’ had been scrubbed from online guidance about the menopause, which is unique to biological females. 

Health chiefs said the move was to be ‘inclusive’ and had not been a mistake.

In a tweet on Wednesday referencing MailOnline’s story, Mr Javid said ‘language matters’.

The Health Secretary added: ‘I have made clear that the word “woman” should not be removed from key women’s health pages.

‘I have been assured that the changes highlighted below, as well as others, are being reversed.’

MailOnline previously revealed that advice for womb cancer had been de-gendered, and terms like breastfeeding were being pulled from guidance for new mothers. 

Experts have warned de-gendering medical advice could be dangerous for women by over-complicating vital health messaging.  

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