Maternity hospital downgraded over use of term 'mother'

Addenbrooke's Hospital
The Rosie Birth Centre at Addenbrooke's Hospital - CAMimage/Alamy Stock Photo

A maternity hospital received a low grade on a diversity assessment because staff only use the term “mother” when discussing maternity leave, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Cambridge University Hospital Trust, which manages a maternity hospital called the Rosie, lost points because staff use the term “mother” when referring to the policies it had in place regarding paid leave, instead of broadening it to include gender-neutral alternatives.

The report was carried out by the NHS’ “Rainbow Badge” scheme, which assesses hospitals based on how they treat LGBT patients.

The trust also lost points for not providing staff with guidance on what trans and non-binary employees should wear, pointing out how the trust’s “trans inclusion policy” did not provide “guidance on the dress code for trans employees, including non-binary employees.”

The report also flagged a “cause for concern” about a deluge of comments from staff criticising the trust’s inclusivity efforts for “virtue signaling” instead of providing care, including one comment which said: “We cannot waste taxpayers’ money on tokenism.”

The report said: “0 points were awarded for the Maternity Leave Policy. The policy does not have an inclusion statement to make clear that it applies to all irrespective of gender/gender of partner etc. The policy also refers to “mother” without expanding to include gender-neutral/inclusive terms and only uses he/she pronouns throughout.”

‘I just want to live my life’

One member of staff who said he was gay is cited calling the Rainbow Badge “insulting.”

They wrote: “I feel it is excessive - I just want to live my life; I don’t want to be asked; I don’t want my identity reduced to a label. I am tired of it - I just want to live my life like everyone else.”

Another said: “Rainbow badges are just performative; I would prefer all staff be properly trained and supportive to all needs, not singling out one or two.”

Another wrote: “I am gravely concerned about the influence on the NHS of organisations like Mermaids and Stonewall. I am concerned about the protection of single-sex spaces like hospital wards.

“I am concerned that men are being allowed to self-ID into women’s protected single-sex spaces, and the serious safeguarding risk this poses. I am concerned that this is all being ignored in favor of mindless virtue signaling like this latest ‘NHS Rainbow’ scheme.”

The report recommended that hospital staff “signal” to patients that they are LGBT inclusive by introducing themselves to patients with their pronouns and putting sanitary products in all toilets.

The report, however, did praise aspects of the trust’s approach to inclusion that were already in place.

It endorsed the fact that the group tasked with hiring senior staff has to include a “Diversity Inclusion Panellist” with “lived experience of a protected characteristic” whose role is to ensure that the staff carry out hiring processes “fairly.”

It also commended how the hospitals set “inclusion-based objectives” to senior managers as part of their annual appraisal.

The “Rainbow Badge” initiative began as a physical badge launched by Evelina London’s Children’s Hospital in February 2019 that staff could wear to show they are aware of the issues LGBT people face in the NHS.

Matt Hancock supported the scheme as health secretary.

Staff members celebrating the NHS Rainbow Badge scheme - developed by Evelina London Children's Hospital - during the 2019 Pride in London Parade in central London
Staff members celebrating the NHS Rainbow Badge scheme - developed by Evelina London Children's Hospital - during the 2019 Pride in London Parade in central London - PA/Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundat

In 2021, the “Rainbow Badge” went from a physical symbol to a nationwide scheme that assesses hospitals based on how they treated LGBT staff by placing them on a scale between gold, silver, and bronze.

The report on the Cambridge University Hospital trust received the lowest possible grade, referred to as “initial stage,” meaning it failed to even qualify for the “bronze” award.

The scheme is commissioned by NHS England but run by trans rights groups, including Stonewall and the LGBT Foundation, who carry out the grading.

In August, it was revealed that 77 trusts have signed up for the scheme.

The Cambridge University Hospital Trust declined to comment.

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