Study of trans women in hospitals didn’t find one single complaint: ‘None. Zilch’

UK hospital ward

This week, health secretary Steve Barclay announced Conservative plans to ban trans women from female hospital wards – despite a study last year revealing that there had not been one single complaint made about the issue.

The report, published by TransLucent following the submission of 102 Freedom of Information requests to NHS foundation trusts, showed that not a single problem had been raised by fellow patients about transgender women on female wards in UK hospitals.

It has become more relevant than ever since Barclay made his anti-trans promise at the 2023 Conservative conference.

In the investigation, 10 trusts were asked: “How many natal female inpatients complained that a transgender woman inpatient was being cared for in the same ward?” 

Trans journalist Steph Richards, who conducted the investigation, requested data from the trusts from April 2020 to March 2021, while a further 50 were asked to provide data for the whole of 2021, and another 42 were asked for data covering July 2021 to June 2022. 

Richards concluded in her investigation that there were “no complaints, none, zilch”. 

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After repeatedly receiving the same response, she stopped submitting requests because she believed NHS staff time was “better spent on patient care rather than responding to the same question time and time again”. 

In addition, she said: “I have discovered only a few cases where a trans woman did share a ward with a natal female, as, invariably, trans people are segregated into single-occupancy side rooms, and often that works out well,” she wrote in her report. 

However, Richards referred to an incident where a transgender woman died after suffering a cardiac arrest, which went unnoticed by staff because she had been placed in a side ward.

Richards said the gender-critical “women’s” organisations campaigning for single-sex spaces in hospitals claim there is a problem. “They claim they are not transphobic [but] after reading this investigative report, many, I suspect… will beg to differ.”

The findings have become more relevant now because of recent government statements on transgender women in hospitals, with home secretary Suella Braverman saying she supports Barclay’s proposal, which would see them barred from female wards.

‘Frankly, Suella Braverman disgusts me’

Speaking with PinkNews, after Barclay’s announcement, Richards said her research had proven there are “no issues” with trans women in women’s wards in hospitals.

“The fact is the Conservatives are responsible for the creation of food banks; they have crashed our economy and made it virtually impossible for the average working person to enjoy life because of the cost of living crisis,” she said.

“The Tories are presenting themselves as the party for Women, but they dont want us to talk about how they failed women in regard to the long delay in regard to ratifying the Istanbul Convention, that rape trials are taking many years to get to court, and the delays are getting worse and that just 2% of rape cases reach court.

“Frankly, Suella Braverman disgusts me, because as Home Secretary she and her party fail women.”

Sharing her support for Barclay’s reported proposal against “wokery” in the NHS, Braverman said: “Trans women have no place in women’s wards or, indeed, any safe space relating to biological women.” 

The proposal would also re-introduce “sex-specific” language throughout the health service when referring to treatments for, and advice on, menopause, as well as cervical and ovarian cancer.

Since 2021, NHS guidance has allowed transgender patients – men and women – to be treated in single-sex wards based on the gender with which they identify.

TransLucent campaign for visibility, acceptance, legal recognition and healthcare for the UK’s trans, non-binary and gender-diverse community. 

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