The astonishing diktat – condemned last night as ‘intrusive’ and ‘insulting’ – orders doctors to include details of a patient’s sexuality on their permanent medical record for the first time.

An official NHS directive, seen by The Mail on Sunday, reveals that from April 2019 all patients aged 16 or over will face questioning about their sexual identity.

NHS England last night refused to give details about how the highly personal information will be collected – leading to fears patients could be quizzed by GPs, nurses and even receptionists.