In June of this year, more than two million people looked with bemusement at Kings College NHS’s announcement that it had installed a permanent display of the gender ideology flag on one of its buildings.
Bemusement for three reasons.
- Gender ideology is harmful pseudo-science – it posits that we all have an inner gender identity around which it is reasonable to align our bodies by hormonal and surgical interventions which are irreversible and cause life-long harm. How can an actual NHS Trust complacently endorse this?
- The NHS is cash-strapped – why is it spending money on promoting harmful ideology?
- Flags matter – we should want to take them seriously. There are regulations around their display on public buildings. Kings College NHS effectively flouts these regulations; it’s a painting of a flag but it loudly does what flags do: “this is what we stand for.”
So what internal process led to such a prominent and public commitment to pseudo-science from an NHS Trust? What conversations took place? What money was spent? Does anyone dare object?
I decided to find out using the FOI process.
Firstly, the painting of the flag cost a paltry sum in the scale of NHS spending. What is most depressing about this FOI response from Kings College NHS (apart from the lackadaisical not-doing-the-maths) is the EDI-speak:
Secondly, who was consulted? The answer is just the EDI team. In fact, if you think about it, why would you bother to consult people when their freedom of speech has already been stifled? Who wants to be accused of hate or phobia? Only one response is allowed anyway. But the NHS Trust was possibly a bit embarrassed about this obvious truth so it initially implied to me that there was wider consultation and enthusiasm. It firstly said this:
But when I consulted elected members of the Local Authority they responded with this:
Unfortunately the recent monstrosity at Bromley Hospital sat completely beyond Bromley Council’s remit to control or prevent (we were not party to it in any way) and the Planning process which is set on rigid guidelines as to what people can and cannot do, had no means of denying the NHS the ability to erect it either.
This from the Council’s Chief Planner:
I think the response from the Trust isn’t quite correct.
The display of a mural was not part of this application (murals can require advertisement consent and not planning permission if they are considered to constitute an advertisement) – the elevations showed rainbow colouring on the building but there was no application for advertisement consent for the mural and it was not considered in the grant of planning permission. I would not say that the Council had “granted planning approval” for this mural and if it did need consent (I should add that I am not convinced it does) it would require advertisement consent and not planning permission.
Even if an application for advertisement consent had been submitted for the mural, the content of an advertisement is not something that the Council can control.
I hope that this helps.
Did the Kings College NHS EDI team actually ‘make something up’ in its first response? It must have known that no planning permission was needed. This is another problem with gender ideology – it corrodes basic standards in organisations. Once a set of lies has been allowed to flourish inside an organisation how do you maintain a wider commitment to truth and standards?
I went back to them as follows:
I asked for any email exchanges that related to the planning of the flag/mural discussed below. You have not responded with any. But at point 3 you say that: “The viewpoints of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Trust Network representatives were taken and supported by our Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
1. Please can you provide me with the emails sent either to or from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Trust Network representatives which discuss the potential display of this artwork showing the Intersex-Inclusive flag at Princess Royal University Hospital, as part of a new walk-bridge for patients and staff? If not emails, other documents discussing this proposal? There must be something?
And here below, finally, is the result. Here is how you get an NHS Trust to permanently display its commitment to pseudo-science. (Although, note that there were also “several unrecorded MS Teams meetings where the artwork and schemes were discussed, and approval was given”.)
That’s it. To get a large and permanent display of a commitment to pseudo-science from an NHS Trust requires two emails between “Gents”. Thanks, Mates.
How to solve?
There is no mechanism in place to shut the EDI juggernaut down. Indeed there is an entire architecture set up to keep it in place. Because if you complain or dissent you will be accused of transphobia and hate. There are badges, and pledges, and training sessions, and identity-group networks, and paid permanent EDI staff with nothing else to do and a strong incentive to keep it all in place, indeed ramp it up.
The LGBTQIA+ network? Kings College NHS now pays it (and other networks) £10k a year. For what?
There are five staff diversity networks which represent people with specific protected characteristics:
- Inter Faith & Belief Network (religion or belief)
- Women’s Network (sex)
- Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage Network (race)
- LGBTQ+ Network (sexual orientation and gender reassignment)
- Disability Network (disability).
Each network is allocated a budget of £10,000 per year from the EDI budget and is available on the basis that the network’s annual objectives and activities are agreed by the Network Steering Group and approved by the EDI Delivery Group on behalf of the Trust’s Executive team.
EDI staff? Kings College NHS has a Director and two Heads to oversee seven other staff. Surely this costs at least about half a million pounds a year for their salaries, pensions and office space. Extrapolate that across the NHS.
EDI gobbles up taxpayers’ cash when our tax burden is at an all time high.
When we have recruitment crises across sectors, EDI hoovers up staff diverting them from alternative jobs that could actually improve lives. Worse – it has them not just digging holes and filling them up – that would be bad enough; but no, they do real damage.
EDI divides us, trampling on free speech and diversity of thought, openness and dialogue in the workplace.
Most pernicious of all, EDI promotes and endorses pseudo-science which causes serious medical harm to vulnerable people.
How do we shut down the EDI industry? What needs to be done?
Stop Press: An X user tweeted images of what can be found adorning the inside walls of the same hospital.