Teresa Steele, a former solicitor, experienced a surgery cancellation after requesting same-sex care for her intimate medical needs, specifically asking for only biological women to be involved. The Princess Grace, a private hospital in central London, cancelled her operation after she voiced her preference for female healthcare providers. Ms. Steele later developed an abscess, which she attributes to the stress caused by the incident, leading to months of pain and delayed medical attention.
The request for same-sex care arose when a transgender nurse unexpectedly entered her pre-op examination room, leaving Ms. Steele feeling uncomfortable and believing she was “targeted” due to her gender-critical views. The hospital initially accused her of discrimination against the nurse but later apologized for breaching her privacy and dignity.
As a result of the surgery cancellation, Ms. Steele alleges that she faced discrimination and direct harm. She is calling on the HCA, a prominent private healthcare company that owns The Princess Grace and provides services to the NHS, to implement policies protecting patients’ sex-based rights. She demands guarantees that patients can request care from healthcare professionals of the same biological sex.
Despite a public outcry and petition, her surgery was rescheduled for a later date. However, during the rescheduled surgery, surgeons discovered a major abscess that had not been visible on pre-operative scans. Ms. Steele believes the abrupt cancellation of her initial operation endangered her life, and she emphasizes the importance of recognizing sex as a protected characteristic under equality laws to avoid subjecting women to “inhumane and degrading treatment.”
While Ms. Steele has offered to waive legal action if the hospital changes its policies to protect patients’ sex-based rights, she remains committed to advocating for vulnerable patients and ensuring their privacy, dignity, and safety during medical care. The Princess Grace Hospital has acknowledged the importance of patient privacy and dignity and is reviewing its policies to accommodate patient requests while prioritizing safety and individual needs.