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Rewritten NHS baby guidelines ban the word ‘dad’

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Term ‘not inclusive’ of gay couples.

The NHS is refusing to put the word “dad” in a pregnancy handbook despite complaints from furious parents.

Health chiefs in Scotland faced a storm of criticism after we revealed the taxpayer-funded Ready Steady Baby guide had been re-written using the word “partner” because “dad” was “not inclusive” of gay couples.

Now they have declared their answer to the backlash.

It includes putting more pictures of men in the guide, printing quotes from dads who complained and an explanatory note about the term “partner”. But “dad” is still deemed too offensive to print.

This is in sharp contrast to its English equivalent which contains 34 references to “father”, including on the front cover.

The refusal to back down has sparked accusations the NHS in Scotland is obsessed with political correctness.

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: “No matter how hard politically correct officials try to present all family types as equal, the fact that it takes a man and a woman to create a child means every child has a father as well as a mother. “It is astonishing NHS Scotland has such a strong aversion to acknowledging this biological fact.

“To refer to a father as the ‘partner’ of a child’s mother is to relegate him to the position of a second-class parent.”

The references to “dad” in Ready Steady Baby, which is handed out to all expectant mothers, were removed following a complaint.

NHS officials ordered an equalities impact assessment which concluded “partner” was a more appropriate term. They also offered the complainant the chance to be involved in the next review of the publication.

But they have since received four complaints from people who claimed the use of the word partner was not inclusive to fathers.

They were also invited to have their say. Three took up the offer and one man had his account of what it was like to be a dad included in a mini re-print of the guide.

NHS Health Scotland’s apparent obsession with politically correct parenting

Ian Maxwell, of charity Families Need Fathers Scotland, said: “I do think adding quotes and pictures is important, but they should have been there in the first place. I do hope they will re-think this decision and use language more flexibly.”

Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said: “We know from evidence heard in the Scottish Parliament that this increasing use of the term ‘partner’ is actually marginalising fathers.

“We should be re-emphasising the importance of that role, not trying to get rid of it.”

Kerry McKenzie, programme manager for Ready Steady Baby at NHS Health Scotland, said it had “listened and responded” to fathers and parent groups, adding: “We have actively engaged with them to further develop the Ready Steady Baby website.

“A new fathers’ section is in development and will go live later this year.

“We also plan to overhaul the printed version of Ready Steady Baby and stakeholders will be actively involved.”