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India Willoughby says she’d ‘rather die’ than be put on an all-male hospital ward

"I will never go to a UK hospital again - they are no longer safe spaces," says India

By Jamie Tabberer

India Willoughby (Image: ITV)
India Willoughby (Image: ITV)

India Willoughby has slammed the possibility of trans women being excluded from single-sex female hospital wards as “abhorrent” and “cruel”.

The Celebrity Big Brother star, who was the UK’s first publicly trans newsreader, shared her thoughts on the matter in an op-ed for Metro yesterday.

The star was responding to a raft of likely changes to the NHS Constitution for England, which the government must update every 10 years.

As well as the preservation of single-sex spaces, the proposals, also affecting trans men, would assert a patient’s right to request a person of the same biological sex to deliver any intimate care. In both cases, these rights are only available ‘where possible.’

“Humiliating segregation” – India Willoughby

Writing in the op-ed, Willoughby said: “I would never, ever go on an all-male hospital ward. I’d rather die at the scene of my injury or illness than be placed on one.”

“Ministers say that trans patients could be treated in separate rooms,” the 58-year-old continued. “But that is just humiliating segregation, hinged on the idea that my presence around cis women is offensive or dangerous.”

“It’s offensive, and I wouldn’t even trust the Tories to provide these single rooms, especially given the use of mixed-sex wards in the NHS in England is already on the rise,” she went on. “It seems the Conservatives simply want to try and scapegoat the trans community, using us as a political football. And what’s most galling is that Labour are waiting on the sidelines ready to put the boot in too, with the man almost certain to be the next Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, backing the ban on people like me being treated as women by the NHS.”

The TV star later writes that, although she “will never go to a UK hospital again” as they “are no longer safe spaces,” she doesn’t believe “most of the people who work in the NHS want trans people humiliated in this way,”

Addressing the revisions, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said in a statement that “sex matters”, adding: “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.”

Responding to news, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said it was important “the NHS is not dragged into a pre-election culture wars debate.”

Gendered Intelligence’s Cleo Madeleine furthermore told the BBC. “After 14 years of austerity, medical professionals are crying out for more funding, more resources, and better conditions for staff and patients. The government seems hell-bent on pursuing its obsession with the transgender community instead of addressing these longstanding needs.”