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Only consenting to receiving medical treatment from a female is not acceptable

(1000 Posts)
Siameasy Sat 23-Nov-19 18:28:46

One NHS trust says it’s unacceptable for women to say they only consent to medical treatment from “natal females”. I find this completely outrageous and couldn’t find a thread on it already. Bloody hell!

OldCrone Fri 06-Dec-19 09:48:29

I've said the experiences that I have had, in a fucking awful maternity unit that was later subject to investigation this is what happened, not only to me but to many other women too, some of whom died along with babies.

I'm sorry this happened to you, but there's no reason to think that the fact that the maternity unit only employed female staff is in any way relevant.

Something that you might not have thought about is the randomness of your experiences (in a statistical sense). Most of us can probably think of good and bad experiences with doctors and nurses. For me, these are fairly evenly distributed between the sexes (both good and bad experiences with both male and female doctors/nurses). Your experiences have led you to think good = male, bad = female. Other people may have had the opposite experience to you. And you might find that your very next appointment breaks this pattern.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Fri 06-Dec-19 10:03:21

I'm sorry this happened to you, but there's no reason to think that the fact that the maternity unit only employed female staff is in any way relevant.

Your experiences have led you to think good = male, bad = female.

I really don't think this at all. I know, logically, that I was unlucky. That these things aren't likely to happen again. I know that not all female hcps are like this and that I could have bad experiences with male hcps too. Logically, I know this.

Emotionally though, I react on a very basic level.when I'm in a similar position with female hcps. Its almost like a flashback, where I am back in that place even though the procedure and the staff are different. That is probably why I reacted the way that I did in the colonoscopy. It triggered a kind of fight or flight reaction that I couldn't control.

Any woman who said that she'd had even one bad experience with a man and so therefore required a female HCP wouldn't be told that statistically it was very unlikely to happen again, that 1 bad man doesn't mean that all men are bad would they? It is acceptable for women who want female hcps to have them, indeed many procedures -smears and mammograms for example - this is the default. But if you're a woman needing a male HCP because of a previous trauma you're disbelieved or blamed for feeling that way.

Thank you for your sympathy though. My reacton to these threads has shocked me. It's more than 20 years since this happened and I've shocked myself at how upset I still am by it.

OldCrone Fri 06-Dec-19 10:15:39

It is acceptable for women who want female hcps to have them, indeed many procedures -smears and mammograms for example - this is the default.

This thread is about that right potentially being removed from us.

2BthatUnnoticed Fri 06-Dec-19 10:21:15

hear I support you in requesting male HCPs for these procedures. No one has said you should not be able to seek a male HCP (although I understand you feel some posts were insensitive).

This OP is not about that though - so it does feel like a detail,

Cheers girl I miss your posts! wine

2BthatUnnoticed Fri 06-Dec-19 10:22:04

*like a derail

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 06-Dec-19 10:33:58

The awful thing is, many women would then possibly reject medical attention, potentially endangering her life. It's very backwards.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Fri 06-Dec-19 10:46:05

The awful thing is, many women would then possibly reject medical attention, potentially endangering her life. It's very backwards.

Yes, that's where I am now. I certainly won't be going for another mammogram.

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 06-Dec-19 10:58:01

And that's not how it should be because you deserve access to that. Are there no males at all in England who do mammograms?

2BthatUnnoticed Fri 06-Dec-19 10:59:58

I know of women who have died from cancer which, detected earlier, may have been treatable.

Women put off tests because they find them painful, embarrassing, even traumatic

anyone this applies to - gentle reminder to make the appointment you got a reminder for a while back smile

And it is fine to request the speculum-wielder to be a particular sex. Never let someone shame you for your bodily boundaries

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 06-Dec-19 11:06:37

Talking of that test - smear test, (I'm up to date), around ten - fifteen years ago I read about someone who'd made some home smear test kits. They never materialized despite some doctors saying they are a great idea due to the fact that some women are so against seeing anyone for their smear. They came to the conclusion that although the test may have to be taken multiple times due to getting incorrect samples (and perhaps a partner or close relative of the female could help obtain said sample), that it could save those women too embarrassed to visit their surgery.

Shame they did not pan out.

2BthatUnnoticed Fri 06-Dec-19 11:14:32

(ps sorry if my last post came across as matronising - I’m overdue for a smear myself so can hardly talk blush )

Yes hello that would have been a great idea, pity it didn’t go ahead

Datun Fri 06-Dec-19 11:20:04

I believe home smear tests are something of a possibility now.

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 06-Dec-19 11:35:51

Oh matron! fgrin

It'll be good if they could go ahead and roll them out. Even if it only saves one life then it'll be worth it. I know if they got bad results back, they'd need to go for further investigation, but some people lower their boundaries when their life depends on it. Would also be good for those younger people who are refused a smear test due to being too young for one.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Fri 06-Dec-19 11:42:18

And that's not how it should be because you deserve access to that. Are there no males at all in England who do mammograms?

Honestly have no idea. They send you to the clinic in your area. I wasn't offered a choice of different clinics and it's arranged by the health authority, not by your GP, so I don't know how you go elsewhere without paying for it yourself.

Our area no longer looks at smears for abnormal cells unless HPV is detected. I've never tested positive for HPV so I'm fairly confident that cervical cancer isn't a risk for me.

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 06-Dec-19 12:03:05

Same here, they just check for HPV once every five years.

I was trying to look on LinkedIn and google for male mammogrammers in the UK, but didn't see anything.
Then I came across something online about mammograms, where in 2016 the NHS were attempting to change legislation to allow males to preform mammograms, at the time they weren't allowed. That shocked me. Especially with the amount of males in the gynecology field of medicine. It appeared the NHS believed (or still believes) that mammograms are more intimate than anything gynecology. Anyway, is a good read (especially the comments at the end) and there were lots of statistics in the body of the text from females who'd been asked how they'd react to a male technician.
I don't know if that legislation ever changed and they did allow males? Just seems so recent too, 2016!

Anyway, if anyone's interested -

There was a lady in the comments too who'd had a very iffy experience with a female technician. She wanted to take her husband with her to her next appointments and someone who was a technician had replied that she'd need to ring ahead of time to get permission to take her husband as legislation stated males aren't allowed in to the area where the machine is. I found that odd. Especially (at his wife's request) as he attended his wife's smear tests and had been present at their children's births, which could usually be assumed are far more intimate?

I know I'm a hussy, but anyone can see my boobies halo it's my vagina and butt hole that I'm protective over! Just thought I'd share that before I go to bed!

GirlDownUnder Fri 06-Dec-19 12:45:20

Hey Hussy, I mean Hello grin

I think the difference is that with mammograms, it tends to be a seperate area where women go from change rooms to other areas in semi states of undress, but for internal exams, you tend to get undressed and examined in the same room, so OK to have a male partner in for smears, but not for mammograms cos there’ll be other women around.

I know for my last mammogram and MRI (I’m v high familial risk so I get both), I had the mammogram then waited in another smaller room, but in a ‘public’ area that only had women, wearing one of those back to front dressing gown things.

And the MRI is in some ways more of a giving over of my bodily autonomy than a smear because I have to lie face down, can’t see the 2 female hcps, can’t use my arms, etc as they pull my breasts through the two cut outs (I’ve told them it feels like I’m being milked!) and they position my legs etc, and I can’t move, or even see what’s being done.

And just thinking about it now, I’ve never had an issue with a male hcp doing my smear, but I’m not sure I’d like to be in a small, closed room with two male hcp doing my MRI. I think that’d freak me out.

Just my thoughts.

VMisaMarshmallow Fri 06-Dec-19 13:03:11

Hooves have you checked the NICE guidelines on accessing other areas healthcare facilities? That or asking your gp about what the procedure is would seem the obvious starting point.

I recall being told when I was pregnant that I had the right to access any hospital or midwife unit for care, prenatal or otherwise, despite being high risk. I know that for my adhd treatment I also could request to access facilities in other ccgs, and while this can be refused they do try to accommodate any genuine request from what I’ve seen/heard (waiting lists/funding dependant).

I have had awful (abusive- belittled, laughed at, birth plan thrown in my face, midwife using my back to push herself up on, not asking consent prior to exams-female midwife in labour, and one female midwife who did a sweep prior who basically said if the 1st 2 didn’t work then it was stupid to try a third- despite the gynae advise to do so, and then made it exceptionally painful and laughed that I’d never cope with labour when I was left crying afterwards) experiences with female and male hcp, and excellent ones. I also had hugely abusive experiences growing up. While I choose female hcp for things like smears, or request female chaperone during breast exam from male gp (and was told that’s standard practice even if I didn’t ask) I intentionally chose a male therapist when going for therapy for ptsd (privately, nhs had no options that would work for me). So I get sometimes preferring a male hcp, you have the right to request that regardless of if the nhs in your area can fulfil it. If they can’t then you have choices like going private as I did for therapy, or engaging further with nhs to see how they can meet your needs. Maybe they will suggest therapy to help with your experiences (and I was offered this when pregnant because of my past- it’s not an insult to be offered help to process trauma and hopefully over come some difficulties accessing care), or they can look into you travelling to another ccg, or nhs might pay a private facility (asc assessments where I am are currently being done this way due to waiting lists of 3yrs+) or they might suggest options like a male chaperone being present, or for smears gps can do them- I’ve had my female gp do mine several times despite it not being standard practice, just because I find accessing any health care very difficult due to being a full time carer for children with disabilities and she books me appointments with her when I’m at the appointment if that makes sense, which is way more accessible for me than trying to deal with the whole call at the start of the 2 week thing & we will try to find a time that fits my once a month 20mins slot I might be able to get to the gps at, or it might become something they may not be able to fix for you right there and then but that it’s kept in mind for future hires, or if several patients report the same need they may hire someone specifically to fill that need (using good old positive discrimination to advertise for a certain criteria). Either way whether they have male staff available doesn’t change your right to request this. You may be in the minority requesting this but women requesting female staff will be a significant number and if hcp know there is a need for more female practitioners then they can address that- as long as legally we are still allowed to request this, which is the point of the thread. We all have the right currently to request either sex hcp, that doesn’t mean the nhs can magic them up out of thin air when we ask, it means they have an obligation to listen and do what they reasonably can to meet this need.

OnlyTheTitOfTheIceberg Fri 06-Dec-19 13:11:46

My body is not a tool to be used by anyone who thinks they need some validation to make themselves feel better about themselves. End of.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Fri 06-Dec-19 17:30:12


Thank you for looking at the nice research. I'm sure that I read on a thread the other day that it's still the case that men aren't allowed to train to do mammograms but I'll try to see if I can find it out.


I know about the right to choose your provider for NHS treatment but I've never heard or been offered the right to choose providers for screening. It's not going to matter if there are no males allowed to do it though.

With regards counseling, yes, these 2 threads have made me realise just how badly it still affects me 20 plus years later. Sadly the responses have also.shown me the likely attitudes I'm going to encounter if I do try to access help. I honestly thought that posters on these boards would understand the concept of flight, fright, freeze responses, of not being able to speak certain situations, of getting flashbacks, of believing women, of looking past what should be a logical, rational response and understanding that sometimes we can have a very instinctive reaction to as situation that defies logic. If I can't get a sympathetic response on a feminist board I'm not going to get one irl am I?

Ohwhatatangledwebweweave Fri 06-Dec-19 17:46:19

Just to reiterate male radiographers do not train to carry out mammograms at the moment. Certainly in Scotland anyway.

Ohwhatatangledwebweweave Fri 06-Dec-19 18:05:44

Came back to this thread to let you know that in my x ray dept we are being advised that we should probably ask ALL patients 12-55 if they may be pregnant and when their last period was. This is because of the health boards policy to change a patient record to reflect their gender identity rather than their sex and removal of any reference to their biological sex.

So I will be expected to ask males aged 12-55 when their last period was just in case the odd one is a biological female presenting as male. Hardly instils confidence in an HCP who doesn't seem to understand basic biology but is exposing you to radiation. This is what happens when you pander to trans ideology.

midcenturylegs Fri 06-Dec-19 18:09:11


I say every time you have to ask that question of a Male make it very clear why you have to! It may help move a few men away from lazily sunbathing in the valleys

VMisaMarshmallow Fri 06-Dec-19 18:10:10

Yes it does matter that you can still request male hcp, even if there’s no current way for your nhs trust to fulfil that. That’s the entire point of the thread you seem to miss, that I expect is why so many seem frustrated with you, and not sympathetic, which is entirely different from expecting a sympathetic response irl within a situation where you are the patient receiving care and how irkd people appear here is in no way representative of that situation so somewhat disengeunious to suggest it does.

The point is that you will be free to request a male hcp without fear of being called a transphobic bigot and then met with the same vile abuse women are met with when we voice that twaw isn’t true and we need a natal female. The reason you wouldn’t face abuse, hatred and violence thrown at you for requesting a male is that a transman is a biological female and if you decline medical treatment on the basis that they aren’t the sex you feel safe with they are vastly unlikely to demand you put their need for validation above your need for bodily autonomy. In every area of awa it’s all about transwomen, biological men, forcing women to accept and validate their delusions despite the very real risk it poses to us- trans men are not out there trampling over everyone else’s feelings demanding they be given access to male facilities, that gay men go down on their male vagina’s, that everyone else around them bow down and swallow the truth that they aren’t really men. All the awa revolve around men expecting women to accept that their much bigger stronger bodies are in fact the same as our more vulnerable female ones, that we swallow our fear and ignore the reality that sexualised violence is mostly a crime the class of men commit against us, and that regardless of our religious, personal or political reasons we prioritise their validation above our own needs. If we insist on a natal female for medical treatment and refuse to validate the ego of a man who claims to be a women we are at best facing being called a bigoted transphobe, accused of hatred, and likely face wider aggression and violent if it’s made public that we committed such a ‘hate crime’ by refusing to accept a man is a woman.

It may not make any difference to your medical treatment- although it may if you tried all the varying suggestions several people have given- but at least you are free to state the truth and voice your preference. We are quickly heading towards a society where women are not free to say the truth that men can not be women, that a penis can not be female, that the risk posed to us by any other type of male is still the same risk when that man wears a dress and that we feel scared and uncomfortable by that. It may not feel like much to be able to say you prefer a male hcp & that a transman isn’t a biological male and not what would make you feel safe, but at least you can voice that reality. The majority of women who feel uncomfortable or unsafe around men in this type of situation are being forced to swallow their feelings and deny reality, which is gas lighting. We are having our voice taken from us, or if we politely but assertively speak our truth we face diaf t*. It’s gas lighting on a large social scale, all to sooth the ego of those with male privilege. Imho that’s why people are feeling frustrated with you, because while everyone can understand that it’s awful to not have access to the hcp sex you feel comfortable with, that’s a very different issue from being told we can’t speak up about biological facts in a hc setting of all places.

Michelleoftheresistance Fri 06-Dec-19 18:14:23

Hardly instils confidence in an HCP who doesn't seem to understand basic biology but is exposing you to radiation.

Not to mention will largely piss men off. Again, for what good purpose? In winning hearts and minds, this just makes people roll eyes and get irritated.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Fri 06-Dec-19 18:16:35

Since yet another thread has been successfully derailed I'm going to say it again. Women have the right to request a same sex HCP. So do men. That right is already enshrined in NHS doctrine. The problem is that the NHS are currently being pressured to change it to mean same "gender" instead. That is not acceptable. When someone requests a same sex HCP that is exactly what they mean and are asking for - the "gender" of the HCP is irrelevant.

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