A specialist has warned that 1 in 5 GPs will refuse to treat transgender patients on the grounds of their religious beliefs.
The lead consultant psychiatrist at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic and president of the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists, Dr James Barrett, warned trans people of the issues within the medical profession.
“In the experience of those of us who work at gender identity clinics as many as one in five GPs won’t prescribe for people with gender dysphoria, even after expert advice from an NHS clinic.
“Reasons that GPs have given me for this refusal include concerns about it being dangerous (it isn’t), difficult (it isn’t), expensive (it’s not, particularly), and I’ve also heard disturbingly frank admissions that it was against ‘deeply held Christian beliefs’ or that ‘we are trained to treat illnesses, not to change nature’.
“NHS England’s guidance on specialised commissioning makes it clear that GPs are expected to care for people with gender dysphoria just as for any other group with an uncommon condition easily managed with a joint care model.
“The General Medical Council has made it clear that ethical or ‘principled’ objections are not acceptable in gender dysphoria and that ‘inexperience in the field’ should be remedied by prompt cooperation with a gender identity clinic.”
He added: “NHS care for transgender people can improve in other ways, too. Such patients are still often, offensively, referred to by their old title or legal sex, sometimes years after hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery.
“They may be admitted to the wrong ward, checked in as the wrong sex, and instructed to use the wrong toilet or a disabled access toilet despite not having a disability.”
The NHS was also found to be breaching laws regarding the treatment of trans patients. Some patients had to wait several years for gender surgery, some were mistreated and patronised and others were refused service.