Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said it “makes no sense” to ask male patients if they are pregnant before undergoing scans.
The Walton Center NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool is currently asking all patients under the age of 60 whether they could be expecting a baby, regardless of gender, if they undergo X-rays or MRIs, according to The Daily Telegraph.
This is to ensure it is safe to proceed, given the damage radiation can cause to unborn children.
The newspaper said it understands the Walton Center is one of the few trusts to adopt the policy.
But when asked on Thursday whether it was fair for NHS staff to ask male patients the question, Mr Javid told reporters: ‘It makes no sense to me.
Speaking during a visit to Barking Community Hospital in Essex, he said: “On a personal level I don’t see why you would ask someone who is a biological male if they are pregnant or was pregnant.”
He added: “If there’s some kind of (a) clinical reason for an NHS hospital to do it, that’s a decision for them.”
It would follow an update to the regulations by the Department of Health in 2017, changing the definition of those who should be asked about it from “women of childbearing age” to “persons of childbearing age”.
Meanwhile, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer faced four questions from broadcasters about his party’s views on gender, including whether a woman can have a penis.
He said ‘biology matters’ but there are ‘a small number of people who are born into a gender they don’t identify with’, highlighting the case of Tory MP Jamie Wallis, who came out as trans on Wednesday .
Speaking in Bury after the launch of Labour’s local election campaign, Sir Keir said: ‘Biology matters and for the vast majority of women what matters is biology, we all understand that, we understand that, it’s common sense.
“But there are a small number of people who are born into a gender that they don’t identify with and who identify strongly with another gender, and they often struggle, Jamie Wallis is a Tory MP who gets is bravely pronounced yesterday and demonstrated this struggle.
“I don’t want to stop myself from supporting and respecting those who find themselves in this situation.
“So biology matters – (for) the vast majority of women, it’s very, very simple.
“But there are a small number who struggle with their gender identity, and I want to respect and support them.”
The Leader of the Opposition said he recognized that transgender people “often go through (a) very difficult time”, while asserting that “nobody is arguing” with the “vast majority” who consider that “biology is what matters”.
Biology matters and, for the vast majority of women, what matters is biology, we all understand that, we understand that, it’s common sense
Labor has found itself struggling on trans issues, with Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has spoken out on transgender issues and biology, saying earlier this month that the party cannot “no longer rely on him to defend women’s rights”.
A spokesperson for the Walton Center said: “Our policy of asking patients if they are pregnant before undergoing procedures involving ionizing radiation and MRI is consistent with national law, as certain amounts of radiation may be harmful to fetuses in utero.
“We believe that asking everyone whose abdomen is imaged/scanned in this way, regardless of gender, is the least intrusive way to ensure it is safe to proceed.”