Amendment 184ZBA

Part of Health and Care Bill - Report (4th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 1:45 pm on 16th March 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Barker Baroness Barker Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Voluntary Sector), Deputy Chairman of Committees 1:45 pm, 16th March 2022

My Lords, I too have spent many hours in your Lordships’ House discussing the subject of single-sex wards in hospitals. There is a continuing discussion to be had about single-sex provision in healthcare, but I do not think this debate is about that at all. I think this is a proxy debate for a campaign that is largely the one that was set out by the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson. It is a campaign which seeks to drive differences between trans people and other women.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Etherton, was absolutely right in his exposition of the law. The equality law is the piece of legislation that carefully addresses the differences between groups of people and the different treatments that they deserve or are entitled to in order to achieve equality under the law. We have had a variety of views, from the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, who frequently describes trans women as men, through to some of the rest of us who believe that they are women with a different experience.

The job of the NHS is, and always must be, to provide safe care for everyone. That is why we have had guidance in force for many years that is compliant with equality law. I say again, as I did earlier in our debate, that unless and until the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, and the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson, come forward with evidence that that is not being provided by the NHS, we should simply not pay attention. We should dismiss the amendment.