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Healthcare professionals and Gender Affirming Healthcare: A letter to the Nursing & Midwifery Council

January 24th 2021

Advocacy, Medical, Health, Trans

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) plays an important national role in regulating &  supporting nurses and midwives in the UK.

Recently they became the target of a campaign aimed at pressuring them to withdraw their membership from Stonewalls Diversity Champions Scheme and Workplace Equality Index.

When reviewing the campaign GenderGP concluded that it contains a significant amount of unevidenced allegations, rhetoric, and misinformation. So much so that we believe the campaign has the potential to harm patients should Nursing and Midwifery Council members accept it as fact and then use it to inform their treatment of trans and gender diverse people.

We wrote to them to ask that they check that they understand the problematic nature of the campaign, confirm they will not be taking action that will detrimentally affect the health outcome of young trans people, except to reject the premise of the campaign, and issue messaging to its members regarding the importance of diversity and inclusivity, and the need to support their trans and gender diverse patients.

We also mentioned that be more than happy to meet to share with them our experience of providing gender affirming healthcare, and provide any guidance that they might need when dealing with this issue.

As an organisation GenderGP advocates on behalf of our patients and clients on important matters that directly and indirectly affect them, as such we will continue to engage, along with other organisations lobbying for change on this and other issues.

We will continue to update our audiences as and when we’re aware of any developments.

Sent via email: 19th January, 2022

Dear Andrea Sutcliffe and Emma Lawrence

I’m writing to you as the Current Affairs and Engagement Lead of GenderGP, an organisation that provides gender affirming health and wellbeing services to trans and gender diverse people (TGD) globally and a group of fierce allies and advocates of the individuals we serve.

As a provider of healthcare and support to several thousand transgender and gender diverse patients in the UK, many of who will also identify as LGBIQA+, we are encouraged that the Nursing and Midwifery Council maintains membership of Stonewalls Diversity Champion Scheme and engages with them on policy work.

At a time when LGBT+ patients still experience discrimination and prejuduce in the healthcare sector it’s, I’m sure you will agree, vitally important that organisations responsible for representing healthcare professionals engage with experts that can assist in creating inclusive workplaces and services.

Recently, however, there’s been considerable pressure on institutions to withdraw from Stonewall and similar schemes, and disappointingly we’ve been aware of one current campaign that’s directed specifically at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, lobby group Women’s Place UK (WPUK) has written to NMC requesting that it withdraw from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme and Workplace Equality Index.

We have reviewed the letter and conclude that it contains a significant amount of unevidenced allegations, rhetoric, and misinformation. However there is a section that we find particularly problematic and believe has the potential to harm patients should NMC members accept it as fact and then use it to inform their treatment of trans and gender diverse people.

In it’s very first ‘concern’ WPUK lists the ‘Medical care of children and young people’ calling it “experimental and un-evidenced medicalisation of children and young people who present with gender dysphoria”.Contrary to this rhetoric, it’s widely documented and accepted that access to gender affirming healthcare during adolescence is in fact associated with favorable mental health outcomes for trans and gender diverse people, and that there is a significant relationship between access to gender affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) and lower rates of depression and suicidality in young Trans people.

We ask that NMC check that they understand the problematic nature of the WPUK letter, confirm they will not be taking action that will detrimentally affect the health outcome of young trans people, except to reject the premise of the WPUK campaign, and issue messaging to its members regarding the importance of diversity and inclusivity, and the need to support their trans and gender diverse patients.

We would be more than happy to meet to share with you our experience of providing gender affirming healthcare, and provide any guidance that you might need when dealing with this issue.

Yours Sincerely

Adi Daly-Gourdialsing

(she/her/hers)

Current Affairs and Engagement Lead

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Author: Adi Daly-Gourdialsing (she/her/hers)

Adi is our Current Affairs and Engagement Lead, and is responsible for monitoring the landscape and ensuring GenderGP is connected to what’s going on in the community. Adi’s background is in organisational development, user services, and community building. She is particularly interested in finding solutions to the challenges faced by trans and gender diverse communities when accessing timely and supportive healthcare. Adi is a peer mentor for a London charity, is involved in grass-roots LGBTIQA+ athletics advocacy, and lobbies for the right to cleaner air for all.

Adi has climbed the same volcano multiple times but never quite been brave enough to look over into the fiery pit of lava.