Exactly how does not knowing whether one is “genderfluid, questioning, agender, non-binary, demiboy and demigirl” lead to adverse health outcomes?
NHS patients are being asked to choose from 159 religions, 12 genders and 10 sexual preferences before they attend hospital appointments.
Critics said the data collection was “bizarre” and “confusing” with those trying to navigate the health service being asked if they are a Goddess, Satanist or Druid before they access care.
Patients’ groups described the system as “wokery to the nth degree” saying the “complex and intrusive” questions would leave users baffled, and raise concerns about personal security.
The questions are asked when patients register with an online portal which enables them to access their hospital appointment details, test results and medical records, before attending NHS outpatient appointments.
Patients are directed to a section on their personal information to fill in their details, with repeated reminders for those who do not oblige.
“Gender identity” options to choose from include genderfluid, questioning, agender, non-binary, demiboy and demigirl, as well as male and female.
Patients are also offered a menu of “sexual preferences”, including pansexual, bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian, queer, questioning, unsure or asexual – or a combination of these – to choose from.
They are also asked to select their “sex assigned at birth” and “legal sex” from the options of male, female or indeterminate.
‘Bizarre, confusing and intrusive’
Patients using the service criticised the questions as being “bizarre, confusing and intrusive”.
Think tanks said the use of “dubious options” to choose from showed the NHS “playing identity politics” in ways that would perplex many of those seeking treatment.
The questions are asked as part of the registration process for MyChart, an online service which patients are asked to sign up to prior to attending outpatient appointments.
The system was introduced at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in October.
One Royal Brompton Hospital patient, a man in his 50s, said: “If I am having a heart stent fitted, what difference does it make if I am straight, pansexual, male or demiboy?”
The hospital is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust. Other trusts use the same service, but with a narrower range of options.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, a campaign group for the over 60s, said: “Silver Voices is a strong supporter of equal rights but this is wokery to the nth degree. Why on earth does the NHS need to know whether someone is a bisexual Methodist before an outpatient hospital appointment is made?
“People will feel obliged to answer all the questions so that there are no obstacles to them getting an early appointment, but this questionnaire is more complex and intrusive in some ways than the Census.
“We would have serious concerns on how this information will be used by the NHS, whether it will be divulged to private contractors, and the implications for confidentiality and personal security if the system is hacked.”
‘Dubious identity options’
Lottie Moore, head of biology matters at the conservative Policy Exchange think tank, said: “Gender identity ideology has been stitched into the very fabric of our public health system without public consensus. When it comes to healthcare, biological sex is vitally important, and it is crucial that NHS Trusts know the sex of their patients.”
Ms Moore said: “Providing so many dubious identity options will likely be to the detriment of those without English as a first language and the elderly. NHS Trusts must stop playing identity politics and start prioritising patient dignity, safety and privacy.”
MyChart allows patients to see information like their medical notes, appointment history, upcoming appointments and test results on their smartphone, tablet or computer.
But when they first register, patients are directed to complete their “personal information” on a page which includes sex, gender and religion questions.
Answering is not compulsory but if patients do not answer, they receive reminders to fill in the information when they next have an appointment.
The service, run by US-based health software firm Epic, is used by 160 million patients worldwide.
In a blog on Epic’s website, it explained it had introduced separate categories in hospital records for sex assigned at birth, legal sex and gender after one of its software developers, a transgender woman, received a hospital letter addressed to her as “Mr”.
“Lack of accurate information related to patients’ sex and gender identity can result in adverse health outcomes,” it said.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation trust and software firm Epic all declined to comment.
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