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Homophobic NHS patients to be turned away from non-emergency care under new rules

Josh Milton February 19, 2020
Health secretary Matt Hancock announced tougher measures to clamp down on violence towards healthcare providers. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced tougher measures to clamp down on violence towards healthcare providers. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Homophobic, racist and sexist patients could be barred from receiving non-critical treatment under new guidelines for the British National British Health Service (NHS).

Current measures cover physically violent or aggressive patients, in which NHS trust staff can refuse to treat them.

But from April, these protections will extend to any harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks, according to Sky News.

An NHS spokesperson confirmed to PinkNews that transphobia and “all cases under the Equalities Act” will be covered in the measures.

The measures, lawmakers say, will be rolled out as part of a joint agreement between police and prosecution services to clamp down on hate crime.

What do the new NHS protections mean?

Health secretary Matt Hancock informed NHS staff Tuesday to announce the intensified, more inclusive measures to investigate and tackle abuse and harassment.

“No act of violence or abuse is too minor,” he wrote in the memo.

An NHS staff member wearing a stethoscope
An NHS uniform. (Getty)

“Being assaulted or abused is not part of the job.

“Far too often I hear stories that the people you are trying to help lash out. I’ve seen it for myself in A&Es, on night shifts, and on ambulances.”

Hancock said he was “horrified that any member of the public would abuse or physically assault a member of our NHS staff but it happens too often.

A new joint agreement will be established between law enforcement and the Crown Prosecution Service – an independent body that decides what cases are brought to criminal courts.

The agreement will enshrine police more power to investigate and prosecute cases where NHS employees are the victim of a crime.

“All assault,” the Conservative lawmaker said, “and hate crime against staff must be investigated with care, compassion, diligence and commitment.”

The new regulations were announced with the release of the 2019 NHS Staff Survey for England.

More than a quarter of workers were bullied, harassed or abused in one year, the survey said.

More: Hate crime, Homophobia, Matt Hancock, NHS

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