Transgender patients: doctors and the General Medical Council

The Francis Report, published on 6 February 2013 as a result of the public enquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, places the onus on healthcare providers and healthcare professionals to put patients first.

It recommends a change in the culture of our healthcare system, stating: ‘A fundamental culture change is needed to put patients first, which can largely be implemented within the system that has now been created by the new reforms.’ With this in mind, many transgender patients hope to see a change in the way they are treated by healthcare professionals, while the doctors treating such patients will be required to adopt a change of attitude or potentially face fitness-to-practise investigations by the General Medical Council.

It is clear that with progression in medical science and the laws on equality and diversity, transgender patients have the freedom of choice to request treatment for gender reassignment. However, how are our GPs responding to these requests? Not well, according to recent research. Treatment for gender reassignment has sparked controversy for some years, with some members of the public arguing that NHS monies should not be spent on treatment of this sort.

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