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Trans women to be banned from female hospital wards, under new Tory proposals | Politics News

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

In his conference speech, Steve Barclay will reportedly announce plans to push back against what he calls “wokery” in the NHS, which he says has led to women’s rights being increasingly sidelined.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Barclay said: “We need a common-sense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS. That is why I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients.”

Follow the Sky News Politics Hub for the latest from the Conservative party conference

He added “sex-specific language” has also been “restored” to 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,” he said.

A source close to Mr Barclay told Sky News he was “fed up with this agenda and the damage it’s causing, language like ‘chestfeeding’, talking about pregnant ‘people’ rather than women”.

They added: “It exasperates the vast majority of people, and he is determined to take action on it.

“He is concerned that women’s voices should be heard on healthcare and that too often wokery and ideological dogma is getting in the way of this.”

In April, Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said the government could ban trans women from entering female-only spaces, and asked parliament’s human rights watchdog for its advice to change official wording from just “sex” to “biological sex”, which she described as a “technical and contested area of law”.

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Who are the New Conservatives?

New medical schools on the way – but Labour says they already exist

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Barclay will announce an expansion of NHS training and funding of new technology in the health service.

He will also announce new medical schools in Worcester, Chester and Uxbridge, as well as an increase in the number of places up and down the country for students wanting to train to be doctors.

However, Labour said the three “new” schools announced already exist, adding the restrictions on the number of government-funded places mean they are only training international students.

Mr Barclay’s speech will be set amid the latest round of junior doctor and consultant strikes in England.

They are taking joint action, with Christmas Day levels of cover expected until Wednesday.

It follows two days of strike action at the end of September and coincides with Rishi Sunak’s first Conservative Party conference as leader and prime minister.

The Conservatives will be hoping to grapple back control of its conference in Manchester, which has been dominated with leaks regarding the northern phase of HS2 – which Sky News understands will be scrapped in the coming days.

While Number 10 says no decisions have been made, it is thought the section of the high speed rail project between Birmingham and Manchester will now be shelved.

Virtual hospital wards no substitute for real people, says patient waiting for hip operation | UK News

Carlo Zamboni used to climb in the Scottish Highlands in the school holidays.

Today, crossing his small flat is a mission for the retired teacher. Nudging 70, he’s on the NHS waiting list for a hip operation and a diagnosis to confirm the Parkinson’s disease his hand tremors suggest.

We were speaking to him as NHS England said it was planning to free up space by treating up to 50,000 elderly and vulnerable patients in “virtual wards” at home.

Three months ago a fall put Carlo in hospital.

“I fell over in a graveyard, lost my balance for some reason,” he said. “I was suspected of possibly developing Parkinson’s disease nine months previously, so I was taken to hospital.”

After a week he was discharged into the reality of Britain’s overwhelmed health and care system; a care trap for those, like Carlo, not sick enough to be in hospital, but not quite poor enough to qualify for social care.

“I thought I wasn’t satisfactorily cured or knew what was wrong with me, because they couldn’t diagnose or do the test for Parkinson’s,” he said.

“You could feel the pressure to get people out of the hospital. I totally understand the crisis but it’s a crisis we could have planned for. And we didn’t plan for it.”

Carlo Zamboni
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Carlo says the ‘promise’ of the NHS should be upheld

Read more:
How the NHS is using ‘virtual wards’ and smartphones to clear beds

Sir Rod Stewart calls Sky News about NHS crisis

Carlo is not alone. His brother pops in to help, he’s had support from charities and the local church food bank, and a district nurse visits once a week to check a catheter, the legacy of a collapsed bowel.

He does not qualify for social care support, however. Modest savings and a potential inheritance put him above the earnings threshold.

The local council has installed wall rails and a rope bannister at the top of the stairs to his flat, but the 400 yard walk to the chemist still takes an hour and leaves him exhausted.

How to deal with the needs of people like Carlo, living with multiple morbidities, is one of the fundamental challenges facing the health service in a crisis like no other.

One reason emergency services are overwhelmed is because a fifth of beds are occupied by people who could be at home if only they could be discharged safely. This winter has seen huge pressure to speed up that process.

With social care denuded by low pay and a staffing shortage, NHS England wants to scale up the use of technology, prescribing wearable devices to vulnerable people so they can be monitored remotely from home rather than a precious hospital bed.

Carlo says the “hospital at home” plan might help. “It’s a possibility worth exploring and experimenting with, but there’s no replacement for real people,” he told us.

What he really wants, though, is the government to honour the NHS commitment.

“I expect the NHS to remain true to its principles and I expect people to have faith in the NHS.

“Our generation were promised cradle-to-grave care. And I hope that promise is upheld – for more generations.”