- 2010 National LGBT Conference
- 30 July 2010
national transgender member caucus
Conference notes that trans people continue to experience discrimination at the hands of the NHS. The “Postcode Lottery” of Primary Care Trust (PCT) funding of Gender Reassignment services, with Trans people in some areas being refused services while others are made to wait years for funding. There are long waiting lists at NHS Gender Identity Clinics (GIC) for patient’s first and ongoing consultations. There are huge variations of understanding when dealing with health professionals. Many trans patients endure negative attitudes and disrespect. This has resulted in unnecessary stress for trans people when dealing with “care professionals”.
The Coalition Government’s plans for sweeping cuts to public services; along with the Conservatives poor record on legislation on LGBT issues do not bode well for the future. We also note the Government’s plans to abolish PCT and to transfer funding responsibilities to General Practitioners (GP’s).
Research carried out by the Department of Health suggests that a large number of trans people are refused NHS treatment. The results of a survey carried out in 2007 show:
1.17 % of trans patients were refused non-trans related health care by a doctor or nurse because they did not approve of gender reassignment;
2.29 % of trans people reported that being trans adversely affected the way that were treated by health care professionals;
3.21 % of trans people stated that GPs did not appear to want to help or refused to help with treatment.
The survey also found that little improvement had been made in funding gender recognition treatments or in waiting times over the last 15 years.
Trans people have the right to dignity, sensitivity and respect and this stigma must be eliminated. There is a need for awareness training ranging from the GP practice, to main stream hospitals and specialist clinics. Organisations such as the Gender Trust, The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) and Press for Change have undertaken sterling work to promote awareness but more work is needed.
Conference calls upon National and Regional LGBT Committees, along with other public sector unions, especially those working in the health sector to:
A.Strongly support UNISON’s Million Voices Campaign for better public services not only within the NHS but across the whole of the public sector to oppose cuts in public services. In particular, we call for the NHS funding for Gender Reassignment to be protected, or expanded in those localities where currently finance is particularly difficult or nearly impossible to obtain;
B.Engage with the NHS and GP’s to develop comprehensive and thorough LGBT training and awareness and for this to be provided to all front-line services. The care for trans patients should be free from discriminatory attitudes and poor practice is not acceptable and should not be tolerated;
C.Press for treatment and care to be provided to all trans patients in a fair and equitable manner across the United Kingdom.