Steve Barclay last night ordered an urgent investigation into new guidelines that tell NHS staff to treat all patients as gender-neutral.
The Health Secretary demanded answers after learning taxpayers had funded the guide to ‘inclusive communication’.
It instructs doctors and nurses not to use phrases such as ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ or ‘he’ and ‘she’ until a patient has confirmed their gender identity.
And medics are told to consider that this may have changed since the individual’s last appointment – even if they see them regularly.
The 16-page document features a foreword by Dr Michael Brady, national advisor for LGBT health at NHS England, who describes it as a ‘must read’ for all health and social care professionals.
It has been produced by researchers who received a £164,964 government grant to study how clinicians could improve their communication with LGBT patients and present their findings as ‘evidence-based guidance’ for them to follow.
Critics questioned why civil servants had considered it a better use of funds than providing more operations or ambulances.
The Department of Health warned that removing gendered language risked ‘unintended adverse health consequences’.
A source close to Mr Barclay, who is said to have ‘hit the roof’ after the guide was unearthed by the Mail, revealed he had launched an investigation into the spending, adding: ‘Taxpayers’ money needs to be invested in fixing the NHS so it can provide better care for patients, not squandered on woke pamphlets.’
The National Institute for Health and Care Research, which bankrolled the research and guidance, is one of the UK’s largest funders of health and care research and is funded directly by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Read More: Treat all patients as gender neutral, NHS doctors told