to write to the NHS using just my initials and to expect them not to assume I'm a Mr.

(120 Posts)
RedToothBrush Tue 22-Jan-13 08:04:17

I have made five FOI requests in the last month, using my initial and no title.

Two of the responses (so far) I've had have been addressed to Mr.

AIBU to think that I should be allowed not to state my gender and marital status when making formal and official enquiries and to simply be addressed as I have titled myself.

Is this really too much to ask or expect?

complexnumber Tue 22-Jan-13 09:05:13

< also whispering> So what sort of information do you request for in a FOI request

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 09:06:11

*You get much more respect if you have a different surname.*- really??? you get much more respect if you keep your maiden name??? I think respect is earned, not dependent on your surname.

Emmeline, I take your point, but its generally accepted business use to use titles rather than initials. The OP can't blame the NHS for doing it when all businesses use titles as the default address system.

Dear J Smith sounds awful
Dear Ms Smith sounds better.

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 09:09:43

exactly mrs jay. Why so cagey about gender?

Its a bit PA really to refuse to supply information and then be annoyed when it is guessed wrong.

I'm still rattled by PessaryPam saying you get much more respect if you have a different surname- what rot. Respect is earned. Having the same surname as your husband does not make people have less respect or more respect for you.

SelfRighteousPrissyPants Tue 22-Jan-13 09:13:04

2 out of 5 responses are to Mr so that's less than half, sounds about right as guesses based on the proportion of men in the population!

wonkylegs Tue 22-Jan-13 09:16:10

I've never found that you get more respect for having different surnames, I have had less problems since I got married as my current surname is easier to pronounce and spell correctly.
I have always had issues with getting the correct title - I am a woman in a predominately male profession - it doesn't annoy me I just laugh off the ridiculousness of mail addressed to Mr Obviouslygirlsname. Once I am willing to forgive but if I get it repeatedly once it's been corrected or from someone I've actually met then I take it as rude.

ILikeBirds Tue 22-Jan-13 09:16:34

People ask all sorts of weird and wonderful questions via FOI. Public bodies then waste spend thousands answering important questions like "What's on your work canteen menu?"

Fakebook Tue 22-Jan-13 09:16:41

We're all MR by default. Sad but true. Laugh it off.

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:17:18

So what sort of information do you request for in a FOI request

medical records or treatment records

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 09:17:44

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 09:06:11 'You get much more respect if you have a different surname.'- really??? you get much more respect if you keep your maiden name??? I think respect is earned, not dependent on your surname.

When it's your bank holding your money I would have thought you have already earned their respect! I have never had to get my husband to authorise spending in the way my mother was forced to. That is why I do this.

But you definitely get an award for missing the point.

SorrelForbes Tue 22-Jan-13 09:21:29

FOI request are requests for Corporate information, e.g. How much did your business spend on staples last year or how
much do you pay your executive board.

Requests for personal information (e.g. Medical records) can be made by the individual in question under the Data Protection Act.

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 09:26:04

I didn't miss the point you clearly said "you get much more respect for having a different surname". That sounds pretty clear.

I have a joint account BTW. I use it however I want. I don't need anyone's permission.

Hegsy Tue 22-Jan-13 09:30:35

pessarypam I changed my surname with the bank, my wages go into ny husbands account and I don't need my husband to authorise any spending as we're a partnership......I think what your talking about is more to do with the relationship than the name

OP yabu and 5 foi requests? Are you a journalist or on some kind of mission?

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:34:53

OH i got it wrong OP what is it you need to know are you worried about staples grin

Morloth Tue 22-Jan-13 09:35:36

'R' comes before 'S', so in a drop down menu where you have to choose one, 'Mr' is ahead of the others.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 22-Jan-13 09:36:49

"but its generally accepted business use to use titles rather than initials."

It use to be generally accepted to pay women less than men for the same job. Didn't make it right, or polite, or sensible. It use to be generally accepted that men were the default actors (as in people with agency, not pople on the stage - though that too) in our world and in that scenario there is a bit of logic behind defaulting to a male title(*). But it isn't the case any longer and institutions ought to wake up to that fact.

(*) I think the real reason behind defaulting to male is not because of the logic of it, but because really as a society we still think it's a bit insulting to call a man Miss or Mrs. But we think women should at best not be bothered and possibly even be a little bit flattered that someone thought they could possibly be as good as a man.

TheCraicDealer Tue 22-Jan-13 09:51:40

When I worked for a large bank one of my jobs was to get the standard letters sent out to customers. You know, "we can't credit this to your account/your card has arrived in the branch", etc. There was a drop down box, you had to select a title, otherwise it was a case of computer-says-no.

Maybe "Mr" was at the top of the drop box? Maybe most FOI requests are made by men and they made an educated guess? Maybe they didn't want to send a letter out with every variation of every title to keep the OP happy?

fascicle Tue 22-Jan-13 10:05:08

RedToothBrush Do you supply initials only for all letters you write, or have you specifically done this for your FOI requests? I think if you just give initials, there's a fair chance someone will guess your title incorrectly.

Have you had any luck with your FOI requests?

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 10:07:18

Hegsy I think what your talking about is more to do with the relationship than the name

Nope, my Dad was very cross that they behaved like that. They had a very equal relationship.

It may be that bank behaviour has changed now though, this was many years ago. I just remembered how it was for my Mum and decided not to take the chance. Plus I had built my career as Ms X and it would have been confusing to then become Mrs Y.

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 10:07:20

But Emmeline, it's not a sexist issue, you can use Ms now. It's not about marital status.

I agree it's wrong to default to male, they should come up with an alternative, but I don't know why you think it's up there with unequal pay and other stuff.

The point I am making is that businesses use Mr/Mrs/Miss or Ms, rather just Dear J Smith. That's a fact not a political statement.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Jan-13 10:07:57

Other organisations, of course, default to 'Dear Sir or Madam'. Then a whole other set of conventions applies. Dear Mr J Smith letters end 'yours sincerely'. Dear Sir or Madam letters end 'yours faithfully'. Why we have to be sincere or faithful is never clear. Think the OP is reading far too much into something that could be easily averted.

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 10:15:09

The OP can't refuse to give her gender and then get annoyed when its guessed wrong. If you want information, then its just petty to refuse to give your gender

DolomitesDonkey Tue 22-Jan-13 10:20:55

YABU. Would you rather they called you "thing" or "it"?

If you wish to be addressed in a particular manner, make it your priority to tell people - we're not all mind-readers. hmm

YouOldSlag Tue 22-Jan-13 10:25:30

Think the OP is reading far too much into something that could be easily averted. exactly cogito

LessMissAbs Tue 22-Jan-13 10:27:41

The default setting is "Dear Sir/Madam". Not "Mr". The NHS risks being accused of sex discrimination.

That said, YABU a bit for making 5 FOI requests using public time and money in a month!

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 10:28:16

OP what did you want the letter to say just your initials most letters wont come like that especially official letters, TBH it sounds like you have far to much time on your hands that you exclude your gender and are trying to make a point that is making you look a bit pretentious

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now