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Gender neutral toilets in sexual health clinic

(7 Posts)
GhettoFabulous Thu 12-Oct-17 17:10:13

I was in the main, large sexual health clinic in my city at the beginning of the week and was extremely dismayed to see that the toilets are all now gender neutral.You open the door to a room and there's a row of individual cubicles with a sink inside. Which means that men and women will be in the corridor between the cubicles and the exit at the same time.

I was there for a smear because I have a long history of abuse and trauma. There's posters in the cubicles showing you how to take an intimate swab test. Obviously, people who use the clinic are clearly vulnerable.

I was in a state of high anxiety about my smear and the lack of a clearly defined women only space really upset me and made me feel so unsafe.

I emailed them to complain, no reply as yet but my hopes aren't high.

ArcheryAnnie Thu 12-Oct-17 18:09:06

I hear you, Ghetto. It's happening everywhere, but a sexual health clinic is an especially stupid place for them not to make same-sex provision.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 12-Oct-17 18:11:10

I really hope they do reply. That's an exceptionally insensitive place to have gender neutral toilets of the type you describe.

morningrunner Thu 12-Oct-17 18:20:42

If you don't hear back substantively then I suggest you write to the trust and inform them that you believe that the clinic is in breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty (s.149 of the Equality Act 2010). In that they have not considered the potential impact on vulnerable women who might be dissuaded from using a health service where they have to share that kind of space with males. Gender neutral is only acceptable if it's entirely self contained. Gender neutral cubicals are just not on.

Tell them you will Give them 21 days to respond otherwise you will report your concerns to the Ewualities and Human Rights Commission.

morningrunner Thu 12-Oct-17 18:21:51

Equality and Human Rights Commission

hingedspeculum Thu 12-Oct-17 18:27:08

There are numerous Department of Health publications that stress the importance of single sex provision in the NHS; NHS Patient's Charter, NHS Single Sex Standards, Chief Nursing Officer Privacy and Dignity Report are a couple. There is also guidance published in 2009 for the Government's commitment to eliminating mixed sex provision:

"The Operating Framework required PCTs to work with provider units to publish, by the end of March 2009, plans to deliver substantial and meaningful reductions in the number of patients who report that they share sleeping or sanitary accommodation with members of the opposite sex. This supports the NHS commitment to providing every patient with same-sex accommodation, helping to safeguard their privacy and dignity when they are often at their most vulnerable. This means providing a same-sex sleeping area, bathroom and toilet facilities"

www.gov.uk/government/publications/eliminating-mixed-sex-accommodation-in-hospitals

I'm not sure whether the sinks are in the cubicles or in a shared washroom - that might change what their definition of single sex provision is. Fundamentally, single sex facilities are a foundational NHS care element understood to be necessary in order for respect and dignity of the patient is maintained. I hope they reply to you, OP.

morningrunner Thu 12-Oct-17 18:32:28

That's really interesting hinged - as ever you wonder why there aren't specific rules against this kind of nonsense and then you find out that there are butthey are being ignored

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