NHS plans to question patients on sexuality criticised by health professionals in Birmingham

Health professional

Birmingham healthcare professionals have criticised plans to question patients on their sexual orientation.

Under new NHS guidelines announced last week, health professionals from across England will be expected to ask their patients aged 16 or over about their sexual orientation.

The guidance states, patients will be asked to describe themselves in categories as heterosexual or straight, gay or lesbian, bisexual or other.

The move has been proposed due to a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure no patients are discriminated against.

Doctors, nurses and local councillors in charge of adult social care will all be expected to question their patients from May 2018.

‘Not Necessary’

While the Birmingham LGBT+ Centre is yet to respond, the NHS is already receiving a negative response from GPs and nurses.

Dr Keith Hobart, a Birmingham based General Practitioner, said:

“Sexual preference is a personal choice and unless it has a connection to the patient’s medical condition, bringing it up is not necessary.”

A 47-year-old local nurse, who preferred to remain unnamed, said:

“I haven’t asked my children what their sexual preference is, why would I ask an unknown patient? For me, this seems more discriminating.”

‘Helpful Move’

UK based LGBT rights charity Stonewall issued a statement last night saying:

“We have been calling for sexual orientation to be considered as other protected characteristics for over a decade. This move will also help health services gather evidence on and understand the needs of LGB people.

“We’d also like to see NHS England introduce similar gender identity monitoring for trans and non-binary patients where appropriate.”

The monitoring will be limited to the LGBT+ community and patients are allowed to refuse to disclose their sexual orientation.

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