Britain’s nursing regulator has rejected pleas from hundreds of concerned members to pull out of a diversity scheme ran by Stonewall.
More than 700 nurses and midwives wrote to the Nursing and Midwifery Council to detail their concerns about the controversial LGBT+ charity and its stance on medical issues.
Stonewall has been mired in controversy over its gender identity views, and insisted that people should be able to access single-sex wards based on the gender that they identify as — not their biological sex.
It has also called for the word ‘mothers’ to be replaced with the gender-neutral term ‘parent who has given birth’.
Stonewall’s workplace diversity scheme has been criticised for creating ‘woke’ work environments that curb free speech among staff.
Several organisations, including the BBC, Ofcom and Ofsted, have already ditched Stonewall’s diversity programme.
Nurses and midwives who signed the petition argued that the NMC’s affiliation with Stonewall impeded their ability to speak out for the rights of female patients, as they are professionally obliged.
But the NMC will not be joining them, stating that while it welcomed a ‘constructive challenge’ it would remain part of the scheme for now.
Numerous organisations have faced calls to disassociate themselves with LGBT+ charity Stonewall over its views, but the Nursing and Midwifery Council have decided to stick with it
Some nurses reacted with anger to the NMC’s decision, expressing disappointment that part of their fees were going to supporting Stonewall
Other nurses called for the regulator to ballot its membership on the issue
Ban on trans conversion therapy should be delayed to ensure parents and teachers are not criminalised
Ministers must delay a controversial ban on conversion therapy for trans people until it is changed to protect families, teachers and doctors, the equalities watchdog said last night.
In a major intervention, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the current proposals would have a ‘chilling effect’ on therapists who want to help people dealing with ‘gender dysphoria’.
The condition means someone does not feel happy with their biological sex. The watchdog said the proposals must be changed to ensure parents and teachers are not criminalised for questioning whether a child really wants to change their gender. The EHRC said doctors and therapists must be able to ‘reconcile’ children to their biological sex if that is in their best interests.
It stressed the law must not prevent priests and other religious leaders advising congregations on sexual matters.
The EHRC said that, while uncontroversial proposals to ban therapy designed to ‘make gay people straight’ should be brought in as soon as possible, the part on trans people should be delayed until more research has been done. Last month a Government source said ministers were looking closely at the EHRC report – indicating they could delay the ban on conversion therapy for trans people.
Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme is a membership scheme for employers that aims to make their workplace a space where LGBT+ staff can feel free to be themselves.
Organisations pay thousands of pounds to be part of the programme, which allows them to use Stonewall promotional logos and materials and gain access to training to make their workplace LGBT+ friendly.
The NMC — which has 750,000 registrants — said the scheme enabled it to create a positive and inclusive environment for its LGBT+ workforce, as well as to ‘understand and address’ the challenges these individuals face.
While the NMC acknowledged there was a great deal of interest in Stonewall’s policy positions, it insisted its membership of the diversity programme did not influence its regulatory role.
‘The workplace programme has no connection with the processes we use to develop our regulatory standards, which are produced following wide-ranging open consultations with many stakeholders, professionals and the public,’ it said.
‘We are not “affiliated” to Stonewall; nor do we receive legal advice from them.’
Nurses and midwives can be referred to the NMC if there are concerns about their practice, or if the views they hold could impact patient care.
The NMC insisted that, with two-thirds of the nursing and midwifery workforce being women, it was committed to protecting both women and trans rights.
‘We are committed to upholding women’s rights and trans rights, and supporting the professionals on our register to do so too,’ they said.
Some nurses expressed their disappointment with the NMC’s decision on social media.
Amanda, a nurse from Gloucestershire said: ‘Really disappointed that some of my annual £120 registration fees are still going to Stonewall.’
Organisations have to pay around £3,000 a year to be part of Stonewall’s diversity champions programme.
Another woman who said she worked as a nurse in the NHS said the NMC’s decision was out-of-step.
‘Incredible that you are enabling and paying a lobbying group that many credible organisations have left. You need to ballot your members on this. ‘ she said.
This petition was organised by campaign group Women’s Place UK.
It said the NMC appeared to have failed to understand the issues raised by the petitioners or address them.
Women’s Place UK added they would now consult with the original signatories on how to continue to support their concerns.
At the time of the letter, Stonewall hit back at the claims, stating it was ‘littered with inaccuracies and misinformation’, and that lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people are harmed by ‘attacks’ like these.
The charity is currently in dispute with the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over children wanting to change their gender.
The EHRC have called for a UK ban on conversion therapy for trans people to be delayed until it is changed to ensure families, teachers and doctors are not criminalised for questioning whether a child really wants to change their gender.
Stonewall slammed the EHRC’s intervention accusing the UK’s equality watchdog of an ‘attack on trans equality’ and of effectively seeking to ‘exclude trans people from improved rights and protections’.