Emergency call operators are being advised not to use terms such as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ in a bid to be more inclusive of transgender people.
The policy comes as bosses launch an investigation to identify the culprit behind ‘discriminatory’ graffiti on its gender-neutral staff toilet signs. The signs have been put up as part of a diversity drive aimed at transgender workers.
The London Ambulance Service has introduced unisex toilets and changing facilities by putting up new signs on them at stations across the capital. File image
In one case, managers are understood to have identified a staff member who scrawled a one-word message considered derogatory to gay people through their handwriting.
Jules Lockett, London Ambulance Service head of emergency operations centre training, and joint head of its LGBT network, disclosed the transgender policy in a conference speech.
She said the service had faced ‘bravado’ among opponents of its unisex lavatories, showers and changing rooms ‘across our stations’. Miss Lockett added: ‘We did get a lot of people trying to rip the signs down, so we just printed a lot off and stuck them back on.’
Critics had taken ‘a permanent marker into the toilet to make changes on the signs’ – the culprit for which was identified through a ‘professional handwriting analyst’, she said. However the service denied it had brought in outside handwriting experts.
Miss Lockett said staff should not oppose the policy, adding: ‘If I walk into an ambulance station there will be people getting changed. Whether they’re male or female, it doesn’t matter.’
Patricia Grealish, London Ambulance Service director of people and culture, said: ‘We celebrate and encourage diversity and aim for a working environment where everyone feels included and appreciated for their work.
‘We have a staff-run LGBT network whose work supports our staff and patients and promotes and improves LGBT equality and inclusion. There have been a small number of occasions where discriminatory graffiti has been left on service property. These incidents have been reported to senior managers and investigated.’