Hospital staff told police their patient was not raped as alleged attacker was transgender, despite CCTV showing assault in ward
The case has led to a review of the NHS's use of single-sex wards
Hospital staff told police that a patient was not raped on one of their wards as the alleged attacker was transgender, despite there being CCTV evidence that shows the assault.
Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne raised the incident, that happened a year ago, with the House of Lords this week.
Lady Nicholson said that, after the assault victim filed a police report, the unnamed hospital was contacted but they insisted “the rape could not have happened” as there was “no male in the hospital".
She told MPs: “They forgot there was CCTV, nurses and observers.
“Nonetheless, it has taken nearly a year for the hospital to agree that there was a male on the ward and, yes, this rape happened.
“During that year she has almost come to the edge of a nervous breakdown, because being disbelieved about being raped in hospital has been such an appalling shock.
"The hospital, with all its CCTV, has had to admit that the rape happened and that it was committed by a man.”
An investigation by police into the case is now under way.
Lady Nicholson said such incidents arise because of the use of the NHS’s use of single-sex wards which allows patients to be allocated into wards depending on the gender they identify with.
She is calling for the policy, known as Annex B, to be amended as it “gives priority to trans people over women” and therefore threatens the “dignity, privacy and safety” of female patients.
“The result of Annex B is that hospital trusts inform ward sisters and nurses that if there is a male, as a trans person, in a female ward, and a female patient or anyone complains, they must be told that it is not true - there is no male there,” she told the upper chamber.
“I think it is completely wrong that the National Health Service should be instructing or allowing staff to mislead patients -to tell a straightforward lie. It is not acceptable."
The policy is now under review, but some women's rights groups and nurses have accused the appraisal of being open to bias because one of the leading doctors involved is reportedly an "LGBT Adviser"
Dr Michael Brady, who is involved in assessing the policy, promised campaigners that the “commitment from the team leading on the review is supporting the maintenance/strengthening of trans rights in the update”.
Baroness Fox of Buckley hit out at the statement and that Dr Brady is the NHS “LGBT adviser might make him rather the opposite of impartial”.
She said the review is “not satisfactory” as it has “no public terms of reference” and is being “carried out in secret”.
She told the Telegraph: “I want the Government to take this seriously and recognise that when somebody says that there are no plans to reduce the existing rights of transgender people, what women hear - if I can translate it – is that women-only wards are not guaranteed at all.
“I want the Government to be honest with us about what they believe they are arguing for. I also want them to take us away from having to discover these things in newspapers and, instead, assure us that a new review will be set up that is independent and fully resourced.”
Lord Etherton QC, argued that the current policy was “entirely appropriate and consistent with the anti-discrimination law in the Equality Act”.
An NHS spokesperson said on Wednesday: "The review, which is currently ongoing, is being led by England's Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May.
"The engagement phase of the review closed this week with a wide range of groups involved and every organisation or individual who requested a meeting as part of this process was offered one."