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NHS not treating trans patients equally, say top doctors

NHS not treating trans patients equally, say top doctors

Doctors are said to lack understanding when it comes to trans issues

Leading doctors have warned the NHS is not treating trans patients equally, following an inquiry

by the Commons Women and Equalities committee launched in July.

Dr John Dean, chair of NHS England’s Clinical Reference Group for Specialised Gender Identity Services told MPs this morning: ‘Trans people are people and must be treated like people and want to be able to access the healthcare in parts of the NHS just like other people.’

Claiming doctors are ‘hampered by a lack of knowledge’ on trans issues, he explained: ‘Overall people working in the service try to be empathic, they are certainly sympathetic, but they lack a great deal of background knowledge about gender incongruence and dysphoria. It is something which is not covered in any detail in medical training.’

He said using the incorrect gender pronoun when addressing a patient, ‘Can cause deep offense’, adding awareness of trans issues should be ‘a fundamental part of NHS training.’

Chief Executive of West London Mental Health NHS Trust Steve Shrubb added: ‘Transgender individuals really do suffer stigma. I don’t believe there is equality. Whether it’s through lack of knowledge or people’s own views I think service users tell me it can feel as if they are not being treated equally.’

For more information on the first evidence session of transgender equality inquiry, click here. To watch the discussion, click here.

The wider inquiry is considering how far and in what ways trans people still have ‘yet to achieve full equality; and how the outstanding issues can most effectively be addressed.’

Committee Chair Maria Miller has commented: ‘Many trans people still face discrimination and unfair treatment in their work, schools, healthcare and other important services. Transphobia and hate crimes are a cruel reminder that we still have a great deal to do to achieve true equality for everyone.’

She added: ‘I hope that trans people will feel able to share their experiences with our inquiry, so that the committee can make recommendations for improving people’s lives.’