Patients in the NHS are urged to select from a range of 159 religions, 12 gender options, and ten sexual preferences when scheduling hospital appointments, with the hope that it is not a critical situation

Spoilers for Netflix series Fool Me Once

In a recent development, NHS patients in London are encountering an unusual process when registering for hospital appointments through an online system called MyChart.

This system, implemented by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in October, requires patients to navigate a questionnaire with a staggering array of options.

Patients are asked to select from 159 religions, 12 genders, and ten sexual preferences, sparking concerns about its complexity, intrusiveness, and potential impact on less tech-savvy users.

The Concerns Raised by Critics

Dennis Reed, the director of Silver Voices, a campaign group advocating for individuals over 60, expressed concerns about the pressure patients might feel to answer all the questions to secure an early appointment.

He likened the questionnaire to the Census, emphasizing its complexity and intrusiveness.

Critics have labeled the survey as “complex” and “intrusive,” with some deeming it “bizarre” due to questions that reportedly include inquiries about someone’s identity as a Goddess or Druid.

Identity Politics and Patient Prioritization

Lottie Moore from the conservative think tank Policy Exchange has criticized NHS Trusts for engaging in what she perceives as “identity politics.”

She argues that providing an overwhelming number of identity options could potentially hinder those with English as a second language and the elderly.

More contends that NHS Trusts should refocus on prioritizing patient dignity, safety, and privacy over accommodating such a vast array of identity choices.

Implementation and Information Concerns

The MyChart system, run by the US-based health software firm Epic, is not mandatory for patients to complete in its entirety.

However, patients who choose not to answer all the questions may receive prompts to do so when scheduling their next appointment.

Beyond the questionnaire’s complexity, patients’ campaigners have raised concerns about the usage and handling of the collected information.

With approximately 160 million users worldwide, the widespread adoption of the MyChart system raises questions about data privacy and the potential consequences of such an expansive approach.

Seeking Clarity and Perspective

As this situation unfolds, concerns surrounding the MyChart system’s impact on patients’ experiences, particularly for those who may struggle with its intricacies, continue to be scrutinized.

With critics urging NHS Trusts to reconsider the implementation of such a comprehensive questionnaire, the conversation expands beyond identity politics to encompass broader issues of patient inclusivity, dignity, and data protection.

MailOnline has reached out to Epic, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust, and King’s College Hospital Trust for their perspectives on this matter.

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