The Telegraph recently exposed some very shoddy research done by the LGBT Foundation for NHS England.
Derived from the experiences of just 121 self-identified “trans and non-binary users” of maternity services in England, whose experiences the LGBT Foundation then misrepresented, the NHS came close to implementing staff training based on the report’s recommendations. According to the Telegraph:
- The 121 respondents to an LGBT Foundation survey had given birth over a 30-year period, with many not even actually presenting as trans or non-binary during their pregnancy.
- But based on their survey responses, the LGBT Foundation said that “30%” of the trans and non-binary service users had received “no care at all” during their pregnancy. Yet elsewhere in the same survey, 82% said they had received antenatal care.
- Nevertheless, the LGBT Foundation used the 30% claim to suggest that pregnant trans and non-binary people were “being put at risk” by the NHS. That’s quite an accusation.
- On the back of research as flimsy, as flawed as this, the LGBT Foundation urged maternity services to consider using more ‘inclusive’ language such as “chestfeeding” and suggested implementing “visible markers of inclusion such as posters, badges, including name badges with pronouns, and lanyards”.
LGBT Foundation also seems to have had a complete disregard for the impact of its recommendations on the 99.9% of other service users.
A full critique of the “unreliable and invalid” study can be found here outlining its “methodological issues, biased assumptions and unsubstantiated recommendations”.
NHS England initially announced plans to spend £100,000 on staff training based on the report. It only changed its mind following a petition by clinicians expressing concerns. Astonishingly, the CEO of the LGBT Foundation continues to defend the report saying: “We’re very proud of our research which sets out clearly – and for the first time – trans and non-binary people’s experiences of maternity care.”
This exposure of the LGBT Foundation’s disregard for rigour in its research or balance in its recommendations matters. Because, as outlined by Martin Beckford in the Daily Mail last week, the same LGBT Foundation is currently bossing around dozens and dozens of NHS Trusts across England via something called the Rainbow Badge Scheme.
By signing up to the Rainbow Badge Scheme, NHS Trusts invite a group of gender ideology lobby groups to grade them on their compliance with gender ideology, and then to bully them to go further. NHS England pays the lobby groups to do their lobbying. An initial contract of £220,000 was awarded in 2021 to LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, LGBT Switchboard, LGBT Consortium and GLADDUK to run the scheme. It is not transparent how the funds were shared between these groups, used by these groups, nor how NHS England assesses their work. There is no dedicated public facing website describing the working of the Rainbow Badge Scheme – LGBT Foundation provides some background here and there is an X (Twitter) feed here, but that is the beginning and end of the transparency.
The Daily Mail did a great job of exposing the lunacy of these ideologue’s demands of the NHS. But to really understand their brazenness and absurdity it is better to see it face to face. Have a long look at the ‘NHS Rainbow Badge Assessment report‘ provided by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. It contains the Rainbow Badge’s assessment of how the Trust is insufficiently compliant with gender ideology along with dozens of bullying recommendations for more ideology and quackery – full summary in the Action Plan at page 60 .
1. Despite the Trust having a “zero-tolerance” approach to bullying and discrimination that’s not good enough for the Rainbow Badge team.
2. Pregnant women are “carrying parents” and she/her pronouns should not be assumed for pregnant women. This is insulting and unhinged. Plus see the bullying “Actions” – no consideration of wider impact.
3. Why on earth should patients be asked their sexual orientation?
4. LGBT Foundation and colleagues want every single one of us to be asked about our trans status when we go to hospital:
5. They want clinical staff to avoid using gendered language. Again, this is unhinged. How dare they attempt to over-ride our common language?
6. They want everyone using the hospital to be “asked to confirm your gender”. This is, again, unhinged. These groups want to not just change language and law, but how we actually view reality.
7. One person – ONE PERSON – has experienced “transphobic behaviour”! But language, law, how we perceive reality, everything, must be upended:
8. Remove all signposting to women’s health services that women actually understand. Throw proportionality out of the window:
9. They ask for guidance to support a parent who didn’t carry the child to breastfeed. This is surely unethical and unsafe:
10. This “resource library” is at the end of the report if anyone can bear to work their way through it:
11. Reality fights back! Ordinary people hate this, the next response indicates. Why does NHS management participate in the grift?
11. Ordinary people must be told what to do: to “start consultations with a pronoun introduction”.
12. Apparently, one service now refers to “birthing people” is all documents and leaflets. This is disgraceful and disrespectful to women. Shame on RUH Bath:
13. Another ‘demand’ for patients to be “routinely asked what their pronouns are”. This is disgraceful and ridiculous. What do we do about corporate cowardice in the NHS?
14. They want “non-binary” available as an option on staff registration forms. Let’s institutionalise fads and infantilisation:
15. When it comes to monitoring complaints, nothing is ever enough. This is bullying. That is how to keep the grift going.
16. Six painted rainbow walkways! But that is not enough.
There is much more.
Some good comments from staff who have had enough. (These came with a content warning!)
How can we stop the promotion of this quackery across the NHS? We must face the fact that it is impervious to Steve Barclay’s periodic ‘letters’ – the Secretary of State is seemingly not in charge.
Here is what we need to grapple with. Institutions can be controlled by market mechanisms or by democratic mechanisms. But we have outsourced much of our massive state infrastructure to ‘quango’ status where it is untouchable by either mechanism. And the budget is billions.
Ideology, quackery, and grift flourish – and there is nothing to stop them. In fact, a powerful tool has been set up to keep them in place – accusations of hate, phobia, and risk of losing your job. Much of the quackery happens under the heading of EDI, emanating from the HR Department. But the other chancer’s saloon from which ideology, quackery and grift emanate are the organisations which fund research – they have no real outputs or anchoring in the real world, just the dissemination of funds.
Senior managers within the NHS know that sex is real and that it matters – I am certain of this. They go home and refer to their mother as “mother” and do not check for her latest preferred pronouns. My guess is the folks at LGBT Foundation also know the truth. But no-one inside the system is capable of closing the chancer’s saloon – the personal costs have been made too high, there are zero incentives in place to persuade anyone to take on the challenge. There aren’t even mechanisms in place to slow it down or challenge its activity in any way.
Institutional reform is needed. We need to look at the levers of control that we can reinstate over the NHS. The old-fashioned Left will favour greater direct democratic control and accountability within a state system – that would be better than the current situation. I’d like to hand more control back to individuals. Do we need a voucher system whereby people take life-long entitlements to healthcare, to healthcare providing organisations, public or private? If proper market mechanisms were reinstated, my guess is 99.9% of women giving birth would prefer institutions that recognised them as women giving birth.
Hundreds of thousands of us who care have collectively now spent millions of hours exposing gender ideology and associated grift and quackery. We thought simple sunlight would suffice. But we were wrong. So now we need to do more than just shine sunlight. The press and the wider public will get bored of the stories, the irresponsive silence of the institutions will continue, and ideology, quackery and grift will prevail.
We need to shift focus to serious policy work that looks at mechanisms to take back control of our institutions. The tail – gender ideology and its exemplification of quackery and grift – must now wag the dog: institutional reform of our unaccountable quangocracy.
Caroline ffiske is co-founder of Conservatives for Women.