NHS staff will be able to ask patients whether they are straight, gay, bisexual or other under new government plans.
Medical professionals may also be asked to to keep a record of the patient’s answer from 2019.
The NHS says this is to coincide with changing equality laws, and that the reason they’ll be asking patients for this info is so they can ensure people are not being discriminated against or treated differently due to their sexuality.
Of course, patients cannot and will not be forced to answer. And each NHS trust will have the choice whether they want to opt in or out of this new directive.
An NHS England spokesperson told The Metro, “All health bodies and local authorities with responsibility for adult social care are required under the Equality Act to ensure that no patient is discriminated against.
“This information standard is designed to help NHS bodies be compliant with the law by consisting collecting, only where relevant, personal details of patients such as race, sex and sexual orientation. They do not have to do it in every area, people do not have to answer the questions and it will have no impact on the care they receive.”
But Dr Peter Swinyard, Chairperson of the Family Doctor Association called the new guidelines “potentially intrusive and offensive”. He told the BBC that particularly for older patients, sexuality”doesn’t affect health outcomes or care”.
He added, “Given the precious short amount of time a GP has with a patient, sexuality is not relevant.”
The chief executive of the LGBT foundation in Manchester, Paul Martin commented, “if we are not counted we don’t count” and called the new guidelines an “important step in the right direction” as it would help to address the inequality in health and social care that LGBT folk encounter.