NHS launches new effort to tackle trans issues

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NHS England is launching a new initiative to improve services for trans and non-binary issues.

A symposium is taking place today, bringing together health and social care workers to work on a plan to tackle issues faced by such patients.

The event was described as “urgent”.

Representatives from organisations such at the General Medical Council and British Medical Council will meet with patient groups and representatives, aiming to encourage profressionals to think about how they interact with and provide services to trans and non-binary people.

The NHS said in a statement that it has become clear through patient engagement that trans and non-binary patients still faced stigma and inequality when accessing healthcare.

Dame Barbara Hakin, Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England, said: “Patients have told us that there is an urgent need for action to improve their experience of health services across the board. It is vital that the treatment of these individuals is not seen as a ‘specialist’ issue, and that patients are treated with dignity and respect.

“We are hopeful that bringing together patient and professional representatives in this way will help us secure a joint commitment and a plan to address the inequalities that these patients face.”

Suzanna Hopwood, member of the Gender Identity Services stakeholder group, said: “Many of these organisations have a statutory duty within the health and social care system to raise standards and quality of care, and that includes ensuring that transgender and non-binary patients are treated with dignity and respect, whether they are accessing specialist gender identity services, or seeking care for a broken arm.

“There remains a significant lack of awareness across the health system about transgender and non-binary issues, and we hope that in getting everybody together in a room, we can start to address these”.