A doctor has been fired from a top government role for suggesting gender is determined at birth. Dr David Mackereth, 55, who has worked as an NHS doctor for 26 years, was deemed to be ‘unfit to work’ after he said he would refuse to identify patients by their preferred gender.
The senior doctor was set to become a disability assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions claims a person’s gender is biological and said his right to freedom of speech had been denied.
The medic, from Dudley in the West Midlands, fears other ‘professional people of faith’ could lose their jobs simply for holding opinions about gender that are ‘centuries old’.
Christian Dr Mackereth, say it is his religious belief. The medic who spent most of his career in Accident & Emergency wards, said: ‘I’m not attacking the transgender movement but I am defending my right to freedom of speech, and freedom of belief.
‘I don’t think I should be compelled to use a specific pronoun. I am not setting out to upset anyone. But if upsetting someone can lead to doctors being sacked then, as a society, we have to examine where we are going.’ Dr Mackereth, a Reformed Baptist, started training in May to become a health and disability assessor for the government department.
His role would have involved compiling independent reports about the health of those he interviewed who were claiming disability benefits. But matters began to sour when his instructor said reports must only refer to the patient or client by the gender that person selfidentifies as.
‘I said that I had a problem with this. I believe that gender is defined by biology and genetics and that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female. I could have kept my mouth shut but it was the right time to raise it,’ said Dr Mackereth.
The tutor passed on his comments and Dr Mackereth received an email from APM, the agency employing him, stating that the DWP was adamant that any report or contact with clients should refer to people in their chosen sex or it ‘could be considered harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act’.
The doctor replied that ‘in good conscience’ he could not conform to those demands, and so the contract was terminated. He said: ‘Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.’
A DWP spokeswoman said the Equality Act made it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of a ‘protected characteristic’, such as gender reassignment.
She added: ‘Dr Mackereth made it clear during his training that he would refuse to use pronouns which did not match his own view of a person’s biological gender. We expect all assessors to handle assessments sensitively and adhere to the Equality Act 2010.’ APM declined to comment.