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Education and Employment

NHS tenders apology for suggesting gay and transgender staff have a disability

hand hold LGBT paper flag

After a row over National Health Service chiefs calling gay and transgender staff have a disability, they have now apologised saying that it was a gaffe and result of drafting error and said the HR document has now been “corrected”.

It comes after furious workers branded the wording “unacceptable” and likened it to decades-old prejudice.

The offending passage features in a chapter of the NHS England People Plan called “Belonging in the NHS”.

The manual was published last week and sets out what NHS staff should expect from their managers and each other.

It says: “The Workforce Disability Equality Standard has begun to shine a light on the difficulties that colleagues with disabilities and long-term health conditions face.

“But there remain challenges.

“For example, we know that the majority of staff who identify as LGBTQ+ do not feel confident enough to report their sexuality on their employment record.

“To realise urgent change, we must work systematically and give these issues the same emphasis as we would any other patient safety-related concern.

“We must act with integrity, intelligence, empathy, openness and in the spirit of learning.”

Steve Russell, chief executive of Harrogate and District Foundation Trust, tweeted: “Absolutely support the focus on inclusion, and marginalised groups, but surprised is the politest word I can find to explain the #NHSPeoplePlan suggesting (even accidentally) that being LGBT+ is a disability or LTC.”

Jon Rouse, Stoke City Council boss, questioned how the section “got through” the editing process.

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