As MPs call for the system of Gender Identity Clinics in the UK to be scrapped, we share our free Transgender Health training resource which provides practical guidance for healthcare professionals on how to help their trans patients to live their life more easily.
At a meeting of the Women and Equalities Select Committee on May 12th, Dr Harriet Hutchinson, a community organiser with Action for Trans Health Durham, echoed what we at GenderGP have been saying for many years, that “it is wrong that the psychiatric profession gets to decide whether or not we are who we say we are.”
GenderGP has long been advocating for trans healthcare to be brought into mainstream care – and managed by family doctors – so that gender diverse individuals can access healthcare alongside everyone else, rather than being treated as specialist cases.
Dr Hutchinson went on to criticise the gatekeeping model for this patient group explaining that what is actually needed is a “complete reform of the processes involved” and a “change to the understanding of trans identity and how that relates to things like the gender recognition act.”
Since 2015, GenderGP has been working closely with GPs to provide timely, accessible, affordable care to trans people and those that support them. While some GPs have been reluctant to embrace this area of healthcare, due to a lack of clear education and guidance, others have been very willing to work collaboratively to provide much needed care to the community. We created this free guide to help support and educate those healthcare professionals who want to better understand the needs of this patient population and how best to support them.
Dr John Chisholm CBE, chair of the Medical Ethics Committee at the British Medical Association (BMA), was in full agreement with this GP-led approach, adding that the waiting times for trans individuals to access care were: “entirely contrary to the ethos of the NHS, which is to provide people with timely care when they need it”.
We welcome more clarity in this area to empower GPs so that they feel able to support their trans patient. Family doctors are trained in treating the whole person and are well-versed in the use of hormones, making them perfectly positioned to support this patient population. Where additional support is needed, services such as GenderGP can help.
Chisholm reiterated the BMA’s position that the process of legal gender recognition for trans people should be separated from trans healthcare, and that there should be no requirement for trans people to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria before being able to have their gender legally recognised.
The use of Gender Identity Clinics merely serves to further marginalise trans and nonbinary individuals who are subject to gatekeeping at every turn.
Any healthcare practitioners interested in finding out more about how they can support their trans patient in a primary care setting can visit our Medical Hub as well as downloading a copy of the GenderGP healthcare professionals guide which is freely available from our website.