• Saturday, December 09, 2023


NHS Trust prompts outrage for using term ‘birthing people’ instead of ‘mothers’

Health experts too condemned the language used by the NHS NSFT.


By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A woke NHS Foundation Trust sparks rage for saying “birthing people” instead of “mothers” or “women” in a Twitter post that said it was seeking “birthing people” to provide feedback on its perinatal services.

Perinatal care is a broad term that refers to the treatment that is received while a woman is pregnant and for the 12 months after she gives birth.

NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) which specialises in mental health were reportedly accused of leaving biological females out of the conversation by not using the words “women” or “mothers” in its communications, the Daily Mail reports.

The tweet reads, “Our team are developing a Perinatal Voices Partnership networking group, for Birthing people who have had experience of using Perinatal Mental Health Services within Norfolk and Waveney.”

The Daily Mail informs that while some people called it “dehumanising” and “dangerous nonsense,” health experts reportedly called it a clear example of “desexing the language of female reproduction” in the NHS.

They health experts have supposedly said that the NHS needs to “reflect” on the potential damage caused by the promotion of such language.

Additionally, a vocal critic of gender-neutral language in the NHS and feminist author, Milli Hill reportedly called the NSFT Tweet yet another example of women being erased from health communication.

“It’s simply leaving women out of their own health care discussions,” she said.

While Welsh author, Molly Bennett, said calling mothers “birthing people” was dehumanising.

She is quoted as saying, “How do you think women being treated by you for PTSD caused by birth trauma caused by medical negligence feel when you dehumanise them.”

By PTSD Molly means, post-traumatic stress disorder, characterised by intense emotional and physical reactions.

Health experts too condemned the language used by the NHS NSFT.

An expert in midwifery from Coventry University, professor Jenny Gamble, told the Daily Mail, “The NHS people promoting this need to reflect on what this really says about the NHS and the society we want to create.”

She adds, “There has been no study of the impact or implications of this widespread change in the desexed language use in policy, research and health communication.”

“Sex is a protected characteristic in England and should be reflected in the language we use,” she said.

Dr Karleen Gribble, an expert in nursing and midwifery from Western Sydney University who has also spoken about the dangers of gender-free medical language, reportedly said it was another “clear example” of women erasure.

“The risk of de-sexing remains that women who have low English or health literacy may not know that this applies to them,” she said.

Additionally, a series of Daily Mail exclusives have uncovered the rise of “woke” language in the health service at the expense of women.

A few examples include NHS guidance on periods use terms like “people who bleed” instead of “women” or “girls.”

Other NHS guidance for conditions like menopause, which is unique to biological females, have also gone through a “woke” desexing.

While an old version of NHS Digital said menopause is “when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally” – the new gender-neutral version now says, “Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels.”

Also, the Daily Mail reports that the NHS NSFT is not the first trust to promote the use of gender-neutral phrases when it comes to pregnancy – in February last year Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust had reportedly issued guidance to its staff to stop using words like “mothers” and “breast milk” in order to avoid transgender people from getting offended.

Instead, the staff were instructed to use terms like “birthing parents” and “human milk.”

The new terms are supposed to be used for documents, protocols and Trust-wide communication; the Daily Mail explains.

Though the Ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid had promised a crackdown on such “woke” terminology earlier this year, apparently his promised crackdown appears to have been forgotten following his resignation last month amid the Tory leadership crisis, the Daily Mail states.

The NSFT was contacted for comment about the language used but they reportedly did not respond.

At present, a third of NHS organisations are using woke phrases like “pregnant people” and “service users” to describe maternity patients, The Sun said.


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