It’s a simple process to change your name and gender marker at your GP surgery and on your NHS records. However, healthcare professionals and patients alike are often confused about how to do it. This guide will talk you through the process.
Please note: In most countries, including the UK, your gender marker and your legal gender are different things. Your gender marker is the gender recorded on an official document, like a passport. Your legal gender is your gender for legal purposes, including marriages, civil unions, and deaths. Changing your gender marker does not change your legal gender and vice versa.
Both your gender marker and your legal gender are the same as your birth-assigned gender by default. You cannot change your legal gender or the gender on your birth certificate in the UK without a Gender Recognition Certificate. However, you can change your gender marker on your medical records, passport, driver’s licence, and most other documents.
You can change your name, title, and gender marker at your GP surgery at any time. You do not require a deed poll, a Gender Recognition Certificate, a birth certificate, or any other kind of proof. It is enough just to ask for the change (although you may be asked to show some ID or to answer a few questions to confirm your identity).
Most GP surgeries will be fine with these changes. However, in some cases they may not be aware of the process, or they may not agree with it, or they may think that you need more evidence or further checks. If this happens, you can refer to the guidance from Primary Care Support England guidance and/or the General Medical Council. These both advise that GPs should change patient details on request without requiring proof.
Changing your gender marker, name and/or title at your GP surgery will update most other NHS systems, although it could take a little while for this to trickle through. If you have frequent contact with other NHS facilities, like hospitals or specialist clinics, you should contact them to make sure your details are updated.
NHS systems have different options for title and gender depending on which NHS authority they come under. Some GP surgeries will have access to a greater variety of titles, like Mx., or a ‘not specified’ or ‘indeterminate’ gender marker option. It may not be available at your surgery, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
What happens when you change your name and gender marker at your GP surgery?
Your new name, title, and/or gender marker will be used on all your medical records going forwards.
IMPORTANT: If you change your gender marker you will be issued with a new NHS number, which will register you as a new patient and create a new medical profile. All your medical records should be transferred to your new registration, but check with your GP just to make sure.
Changing your gender marker with NHS services may affect whether you are invited for screening tests. These are tests for certain conditions that are offered based on gender marker. So, for instance, people assigned female at birth are invited for cervical screening from the age of 25 in the UK. Transmasculine people who change their gender marker to male may no longer be invited for screening. The opposite can also be the case. If you are a transfeminine person but you don’t change your gender marker to female, you may not be invited for breast screening.
It’s really important that you receive screening for the body that you have, so if you change your gender marker you should ask your GP to make sure you are enrolled in the right programmes. You can find more information about screenings for trans and non-binary people via Public Health England, Public Health Wales, and Cancer Research UK.
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