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Nurses call on NMC to withdraw from Stonewall’s diversity scheme

More than 400 nurses have signed an open letter expressing concern over the NMC's affiliation with Stonewall’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity programme

More than 400 nurses have signed an open letter expressing concern over the NMC's affiliation with Stonewall’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity programme

Hundreds of nurses have called for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to withdraw from Stonewall’s diversity champions programme.

Concerns include Stonewall’s stance on single-sex spaces

More than 400 nurses have signed a letter to the NMC outlining their concerns about the paid-for scheme, including ‘specific risk to the reputation of nurses’ and their ability to work with the

More than 400 nurses have signed an open letter expressing concern over the NMC's affiliation with Stonewall’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity programme

Photo of demonstrators with placards outside NHS Scotland with placards reading Come out of Stonewall
A demonstration against Stonewall’s diversity programme at NHS Scotland offices in Edinburgh in October 2021 Picture: Alamy

Hundreds of nurses have called for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to withdraw from Stonewall’s diversity champions programme.

Concerns include Stonewall’s stance on single-sex spaces

More than 400 nurses have signed a letter to the NMC outlining their concerns about the paid-for scheme, including ‘specific risk to the reputation of nurses’ and their ability to work with the NMC Code.

Others said they believed Stonewall’s advice that access to single-sex spaces in hospitals should be based on gender identity is in direct contradiction of the Equality Act which allows for exemptions based on sex if it’s a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim – such as a single-sex ward.

Anonymous comments collected from those who have signed the letter include: ‘I am very concerned by my employer being part of Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme. I don’t feel I can say this directly without fear of disciplinary action.’

‘I feel I am unable to protect my female/women patients and advocate for them without fear of recrimination,’ another said.

The letter, led by Woman’s Place UK, raises six concerns with the NMC’s affiliation with Stonewall, including the medical care of children and young people; treatment of women in healthcare settings; and the safety of other vulnerable groups.

Stonewall says letter is ‘an attack on the LGBTQ+ community’

The Stonewall diversity champions programme was set up to help employers ensure inclusivity for all LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.

A Stonewall spokesperson said the petition was ‘littered with inaccuracies and misinformation’, adding that it misrepresents the diversity programme and is an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the regulator was aware of the letter and will respond when it is closed to signatures later this month.

The letter is open to current, former and retired NMC members until 22 December.

Several high profile organisations, including the BBC and the Department of Health and Social Care have recently withdrawn from Stonewall’s diversity scheme.


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