Working with your Doctor
At GenderGP our focus is on your overall wellbeing. We find a collaborative approach can work well and we are happy to share information and knowledge with anyone, involved in your health and well-being, if that is your wish.
NHS Doctors look to the General Medical Council for guidance on collaboration, and this document references this guidance.
Working with your doctor
In the past, we have favoured a formal ‘shared care agreement’ which is similar to the way that hospital doctors collaborate with family doctors This involves GenderGP providing expert guidance via a formal, signed document, which your doctor can then follow. While some doctors have been very willing to prescribe and do blood tests under the supervision of gender experts, others, who do not understand or are simply uncomfortable administering gender-related healthcare, have not. In these cases, the suggestion of such an arrangement has caused much consternation. This has resulted in further delays and barriers to treatment – all the things we are working hard at GenderGP to avoid.
To overcome these barriers, GenderGP will no longer favour a ‘shared care agreement’ model. Instead, where medical involvement is required and agreed, we will provide you with regular ‘treatment summaries’ which can be given to your doctor. This will include details of your medication, the blood tests you need and any other important information your doctor needs to know. The treatment summary is intended to provide enough information for your doctor to feel comfortable prescribing your medication and carrying out the necessary blood tests. The gender specialist that GenderGP refers you to will give full instructions on the doses of medication you should take, the blood tests you need and what the results mean.
Our Gender Specialists
GenderGP is a platform through which people can access all manner of support including medical support, where appropriate. We work with a network of doctors who have all been carefully selected due to their training, qualifications and passion for gender-affirming care. It has been necessary to adapt our model due to the significant barriers which can face doctors wanting to work with gender variant people.
What guidance is there for UK GPs on this subject?
The GMC has issued the following guidance on working with colleagues in the care of gender incongruent patients, and this may be helpful to give to your GP:
‘If you’re a GP you should collaborate with a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) and/or an experienced gender specialist to provide effective and timely treatment for your trans patients. This may include:
- prescribing medicines on the recommendation of an experienced gender specialist for the treatment of gender dysphoria, and
- following recommendations for safety and treatment monitoring.
An experienced gender specialist will have evidence of relevant training and at least two years’ experience working in a specialised gender dysphoria practice such as an NHS GIC.
If you are unsure whether a specialist working outside the NHS is suitably qualified, you are not obliged to follow their recommendations. As Good medical practice says – you must only prescribe drugs if you are satisfied they serve the patient’s needs.
It would not, however, be acceptable to simply refuse to treat the patient. Discuss your concerns with your patient, carefully assess their needs, seek to understand their concerns and preferences; consult more experienced colleagues and provide care in line with the guidance in Good medical practice.’