Medics will have a duty to ensure sick Brits return to work under new NHS proposals, the Government has revealed. 

Under proposed changes to the NHS Constitution — which outlines the rights of patients and staff and overall objectives — the health service will also be tasked to crackdown on terms like ‘chestfeeding’ and ensure ‘biological sex is respected’.

The changes could also see trans women, who are biologically male, banned from female-only hospital wards in England. 

Last updated in 2015, the document will now be subject to an eight-week consultation. 

Here MailOnline details everything you need to know about the proposals.

'Martha's Rule' sets out the need to provide families with a second opinion, if requested, when a patient's condition is deteriorating. It follows a campaign by the parents of 13-year-old Martha Mills for whom the rule is named after. Martha died in August 2021 while under the care of King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London after developing sepsis

'Martha's Rule' sets out the need to provide families with a second opinion, if requested, when a patient's condition is deteriorating. It follows a campaign by the parents of 13-year-old Martha Mills for whom the rule is named after. Martha died in August 2021 while under the care of King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London after developing sepsis

‘Martha’s Rule’ sets out the need to provide families with a second opinion, if requested, when a patient’s condition is deteriorating. It follows a campaign by the parents of 13-year-old Martha Mills for whom the rule is named after. Martha died in August 2021 while under the care of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London after developing sepsis 

Martha's parents, Merope Mills (pictured), an editor at the Guardian, and her husband Paul Laity, raised concerns about Martha's health a number of times but these were brushed aside

Martha's parents, Merope Mills (pictured), an editor at the Guardian, and her husband Paul Laity, raised concerns about Martha's health a number of times but these were brushed aside

Martha’s parents, Merope Mills (pictured), an editor at the Guardian, and her husband Paul Laity, raised concerns about Martha’s health a number of times but these were brushed aside 

Martha’s Rule

This will set out the need to provide families with a second opinion, if requested, when a patient’s condition is deteriorating.

The rollout of the escalation process, also known as Martha’s Rule, started earlier this month. 

Including it within the Constitution would ’embed’ its right, the Government has said. 

It follows a campaign by the parents of 13-year-old Martha Mills for whom the rule is named after.

Martha died in August 2021 while under the care of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London after developing sepsis.

Merope Mills and Paul Laity, raised concerns about their daughter’s health a number of times to NHS staff but these were brushed aside.

A coroner ruled she would most likely have survived if doctors had identified the warning signs of her rapidly deteriorating condition and transferred her to intensive care earlier.

Supporting people to ‘remain in and return to work’ 

The constitution could also be changed to emphasise the NHS’s role in supporting people back to work. 

Under the NHS Constitution’s value ‘improving lives’, the Government has suggested adding wording to reflect the ‘good impact that work can have’. 

If adopted the new version will read: ‘We support people to remain in, and return to, work, reflecting the good impact that work can have on a person’s health and wellbeing.’

It comes as Rishi Sunak this week outlined plans to reduce the 3.5million disability benefits bill. 

The changes would also see recipients of personal independence payments (PIP), the main disability benefit, given vouchers instead of regular cash payments under a clampdown on ‘sick note culture’.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister also vowed to strip GPs of their power to sign Brits off work. 

The change would instead see the letters – known in the NHS as ‘fit notes’ – become the responsibility of teams of ‘specialist work and health professionals’, he said.   

Latest figures suggest 2.8million Britons are ‘economically inactive’ due to ill health. Around half are signed off with depression, anxiety and bad nerves.

Official forecasts also show spending on ill health through the PIP scheme is set to spiral to £33billion by 2029 — compared to just under £19bn last year. 

A source close to Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said today: ‘As the Secretary of State has said, we can’t have a strong economy without a strong NHS – and we can’t have a strong NHS without a strong economy.

‘We have a plan to make our healthcare system faster, simpler and fairer. 

‘We know how important work is to people’s health and wellbeing, and the government is taking action to stop people being written off as ‘not fit for work’ by default.

‘It’s right then that supporting people to remain in work or return to work, and the impact this can have on a person’s health and wellbeing, should be enshrined in the NHS Constitution.’

Trans women to be banned from female-only wards

Under the proposals transgender people — whose gender identity differs from their biological sex — may instead be provided single rooms, where appropriate. 

Patients will also have the right to request a person of the same biological sex delivers any intimate care. 

The proposals follow a pledge last year by then Health Secretary Steve Barclay to prevent people who had changed their gender identity from being treated on male-only or female-only wards. 

Same-sex accommodation rights, which have existed for years, can and are breached where there is a clinically urgent need to admit and treat patients and don’t extend to areas such as critical care or Accident and Emergency departments.

The guidance also means that trans men, who are biologically female, should not be housed on single-sex male wards.

Addressing historic changes planned, the Health Secretary today insisted it was vital ‘biological sex is respected’. 

Victoria Atkins said: ‘We want to make it abundantly clear that if a patient wants same-sex care, they should have access to it wherever reasonably possible.

‘By putting this in the NHS Constitution, we’re highlighting the importance of balancing the rights and needs of all patients, to make a healthcare system that is faster, simpler and fairer to all.’

Here are some examples of the woke language changes that have engulfed the NHS . Some of these have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals

Here are some examples of the woke language changes that have engulfed the NHS . Some of these have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals

Here are some examples of the woke language changes that have engulfed NHS communications. Some of these examples have been taken from national NHS communications while others are used by individual hospitals 

The term chestfeeding is used throughout the page with the term 'breast' omitted. Breastmilk likewise has been replaced with 'milk from the chest'

The term chestfeeding is used throughout the page with the term 'breast' omitted. Breastmilk likewise has been replaced with 'milk from the chest'

The term chestfeeding is used throughout the page with the term ‘breast’ omitted. Breastmilk likewise has been replaced with ‘milk from the chest’

Crackdown on trans terminology 

Ministers have also proposed the NHS enact a crackdown on trans terminology in hospitals, with terms like ‘chestfeeding’ set to be banned. 

Referring to ‘people who have ovaries’ rather than ‘women’ would be prohibited under the proposals mooted by the Government to ensure hospitals use ‘sex-specific’ language.

Discussing the changes today, Ms Atkins said language the NHS uses should ‘be clear and make sense to people’, and not ‘eradicate women’. 

She told Times Radio: ‘I would love for it to be business as usual for people to understand that when a woman walks into a maternity unit, we ask her what she wants to be called and if she wants to be called a mother or a mum or a woman, then we all respect that, we don’t try to use artificial language.’

The NHS has come under repeated criticism for erasing female-specific terms like ‘women’ from official health advice in recent years. 

MailOnline revealed this included scrubbing the word ‘women’ from female only diseases like ovarian cancer and even the menopause

Health experts have warned that such de-sexing of language in the NHS is dangerous because it can overcomplicate vital health messaging for women. 

Last year a report by the think tank Policy Exchange also said NHS trusts were compromising women’s rights by providing same-sex intimate care based not on their biological sex but their self-declared gender identity.

Taking more responsibility when cancelling appointments 

The Government has also proposed ‘strengthening’ patients’ responsibility to cancel or reschedule NHS appointments.

They must ensure they clearly communicate this when they are unable to attend, they said. 

Equally, it is vital the NHS communicates information about appointments ‘in a clear and timely way’, they added.

This includes in alternative formats when deemed appropriate and reasonable. 

Source: Mail Online

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