A former student male nurse yesterday won a landmark sex -discrimination case against NHS hospitals that did not permit him to perform intimate medical procedures on women patients, if a female chaperone was absent.
The Equal Opportunities Commission said the court ruling challenged assumptions that all men are sexual predators and as men make up only 10% of the workforce it would help to open up nursing for them.,
The case was presented before the the employment appeals tribunal in London by Andrew Moyhing, 29, who claimed that he had to abandon his nursing profession as he was not allowed to do his job effectively in a female-dominated profession.
During his training at NHS hospitals and health centres in London he was denied the opportunity to perform cervical smears or electrocardiogram tests unless a female colleague was present. He pointed out that female staff were permitted to provide intimate care to male patients with no chaperone required.
Mr Moyhing did not mind if a woman patient asked to be treated by a female nurse. But the patients were not allowed to decide. This, he said, made him feel inferior as a man. Mr Moyhing hopes that this decision will herald the beginning of an era when nursing draws on all the skills of both male and female students
Mr Moyhing's claims of sex discrimination were initially rejected at an employment tribunal. But yesterday Mr Justice Patrick Elias ,on appeal,decided that the chaperoning policy was unlawful. He asked Barts and the London NHS trust, to pay a compensation of Ģ750. Mr Moyhing, who now makes a life selling financial services, declined the award to avoid divertion of resources from the NHS.
NHS guidelines suggest all patients should have the choice of being treated by a nurse of the same sex.There was,however, no monitoring of the chaperoning policy, but it was clear that male nurses suffered due to an age-old attitude that men could not care for patients in the same way as women .