Promoting equality for trans workers in healthcare

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2013 Health Care Service Group Conference
13 December 2012

Conference believes there is no place for transphobia or discrimination on the grounds of gender identity in our healthcare workplaces, society or our union. Conference notes with concern that transphobic discrimination and bullying and harassment of trans people is still far too common.

Conference welcomes the examples of good practice that exist within healthcare. For example, NHS North West strategic health authority has a wealth of online information on trans equality. This includes detailed trans-specific advice and broader advice which includes trans equality, such as on the Equality Delivery System – setting priorities for staff. It complements our own UNISON guidance on bargaining for trans workers’ equality, for reps supporting trans members and on campaigning for LGBT health equality.

However, some healthcare employers and too many health service managers fail to address trans workplace equality. Transgender workers experience discrimination in a wide range of ways – in seeking time off for consultations and treatment, being denied the right to use facilities, employers failing to protect workers experiencing harassment or discrimination from a service user and much more. Our transgender members have reported how isolated they feel and that they can be unsure that their union representative or branch will be equipped to deal with the issues they face.

Further, conference is concerned that some existing good practice risks being lost when the four strategic health authorities in England are closed on 31 March 2013.

Conference therefore calls on the Healthcare Service Group Executive to:

1)draw the attention of healthcare negotiators and equality reps to the transgender equality factsheet “Transgender workers rights”, UNISON’s introductory guide for trade union reps supporting trans members; and UNISON’s LGBT health equality factsheet;

2)urge branches to actively encourage trans members to participate in health branch and regional self-organised groups, in order to build our organisation;

3)seek information on the use of the Equality Delivery System – and on whether trans equality is being addressed, where it is being used;

4)highlight good practice and policies and encourage the negotiation of specific work on trans equality;

5)continue to raise awareness about the new NHS structures for England and how our activists can get involved, including LGBT activists.