Fri 6 Oct 2023 — 2 min

The Royal College of Nursing have spoken out in the aftermath of vile statements and legally dubious promises made by Health Secretary Steve Barclay in speeches on the final day of the Conservative Party conference.

In a statement issued by the RCN — Britain’s national professional body for nurses — Professor Nicola Ranger, Chief Nurse of the Royal College of Nursing said:

“The Health Secretary should not play politics and court controversy at the expense of people’s health and good care, including plans that can actively deter trans individuals from accessing services.

The single factor that has the greatest impact on the quality of your care and your experience as a patient is the number of staff on duty.

But things are headed in the wrong direction, despite an ambitious plan, and today’s speech did not address the nurse vacancy issue head-on.”

What was said at the Conservative Party Conference

Health Secretary Steve Barclay proposed an outright ban on trans women in women’s hospital wards; emphasising that this is just “common sense”. This has been met with concern by many members of the trans community that this will exacerbate already existing healthcare inequalities by making it harder for trans women to access treatment and increase harms already faced by trans men in obstetric care.

Rishi Sunak threw his full weight behind this trans-hostile agenda, saying “we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense”.

The RCN’s response to these statements are a welcome reminder that the monstering of trans women will do nothing to address the desperate need for safe staffing on all NHS wards.