Yosef Phelan for GAY TIMES

Transgender women may be banned from being treated in female hospital wards in England, under new proposals suggested by the health secretary, Steve Barclay.

Addressing the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Barclay announced plans to push back against so-called “wokery” in the NHS, as it has allegedly led to cis women’s rights being increasingly abandoned.

The health secretary confirmed a return to using sex-specific language that would be used when consulting with women’s health.

“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,” Barclay announced to Conservative Party members.

“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 new proposal sits as part of the government’s consultation process to make changes to the NHS constitution, which will include the right to request same-sex intimate care requests and strengthen the protections in place for cis women.

The latest update from the government marks a u-turn in policy where NHS guidance in 2021 said: “Transgender people have the right to access single sex wards in accordance with the gender they identify with.

“On the ward, transgender patients will be granted the right to use any spaces, facilities and activities appropriate to their gender identity.”

This was outlined as part of highlighting the importance an individual has “the right to respect, privacy and appropriate care.”

Under the proposed changes, this would be repealed and trans people would instead be moved to individual rooms or areas for treatment.

This is a worrying development as noted by Cleo Madeleine, a spokesperson for trans-led charity Gendered Intelligence, who told the BBC that “trans people already are less likely to seek medical care because they are concerned they will be judged and announcements like this just reinforces those fears.”

In response to the latest announcement from the Health Secretary, Stonewall tweeted: “Whether it’s underfunding on female-specific health issues or simply not having their symptoms taken seriously, women regularly report dissatisfaction with the healthcare they receive in England.

“This a cynical attempt by the Secretary of State to ‘look busy’ instead of getting on with the graft of implementing the Women’s Health Strategy, and, besides being unworkable, all it will achieve is to restrict access to healthcare for trans women, by making it humiliating and dangerous.”