General Pharmaceutical Council
25 Canada Square
Sent by email 17.02.21
Dear Mr Rudkin,
We call on you to provide reassurance to trans youth that their access to medication will not be disrupted.
Thank you for your prompt response and for explaining your regulatory processes in such detail.
While we hear your message that you are not trying to prevent pharmacies from supplying medicines to trans youth, the fact remains that your actions have blocked access to essential medication for this group of patients.
Following patient experiences in October, when your actions led to access to care being impacted through our other pharmacy, it is easy to see how those affected might have been left with the perception that preventing access is indeed your intention.
This perception is further exacerbated when individuals contact you and receive the same generic letter that was written to us in response to our recent communication, rather than a personalised response to their concerns.
These are young patients whose options for timely care in the UK are non-existent. Not only are waiting times for NHS care illegal, but the care that is available via specialised NHS services, was recently rated by the CQC to be inadequate.
The only timely care available to them is via GenderGP and any disruption to their medication prescribed via our service is a serious risk to their safety.
You mention various steps you have taken to secure continuity of care. This information will be of great interest to our service users.
As such, please provide us with:
- A list of the signposting solutions you mention in your letter so that we can reassure, and more importantly direct, our service users to alternative providers.
- Any information our patients can print off and take with them that will satisfy pharmacists that they can indeed honour prescriptions for transgender individuals of all ages.
- The outcome of any discussions, engagements or projects, to which you refer in your letter, that relate specifically to the provision of safe and effective pharmacy solutions for trans people.
You state that the inspections of the two services working with GenderGP were not ‘targeted’ as we described, but ‘intelligence-led’. We ask that you share the intelligence relating to our service which led to these inspections. If you would feel more comfortable releasing this information following a Freedom of Information request, then please let me know. It would help us very much if we could reassure our service users that your intelligence-led inspections were based on properly founded concerns rather than transphobic motives.
If you would like to educate and reassure the trans community that your intentions are in the interests of their health, then you might like to consider the following:
- An interview with our clinical team.
- Join us on our podcast to discuss pharmacy safety.
- Write a blog for our website.
- Publish a statement on your website highlighting your commitment to securing care to this cohort.
We have published a Pharmacy Hub on our website to support our pharmacy colleagues. The following pages may be of particular interest to you, and if you would like to make any contributions, please let us know:
- Our prescribing protocols can be found here.
- Our approach to assessments can be viewed here.
- The Clinical Guidelines we follow can be viewed here.
- Our monitoring protocols can be found here.
GenderGP is a global organisation which provides excellent care to trans individuals when their own public health service fails them. We have one objective in the UK and worldwide and that is to bridge the gap that trans individuals of all ages currently face due to inadequate support from their national healthcare provider, or indeed where no national healthcare provider exists. We invite you to collaborate with us on delivering a solution which will ensure the same safe, regulated care is available to all trans individuals, as it would be to anyone else.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Katie Tiplady Startin
Chief Operating Officer