Gender reassignment should be initiated in specialist care

GENDER reassignment is a specialist area of medicine and treatment for trans patients should be initiated in specialist care, says the Royal College of GPs.

Dr Jonathan Leach, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, has commented: "Trans patients, like all patients, should be treated in general practice on the basis of need and without bias – it is important that GPs and our teams are mindful of the terminology and language we use when talking to our trans patients, based on each patient's individual preference, as well as any individual health needs they may have.

"But new presentations of gender reassignment are exceptional in general practice - it is a specialist area of medicine, and treatment should be initiated in specialist care.

"We understand that access to specialist gender reassignment services in the NHS is inadequate, and that this is incredibly frustrating for trans patients and their families. But GPs should not have to bear the brunt of poor access to specialist services by being put in a position where they are being asked to prescribe treatment that they are not trained to prescribe or monitor safely without expert support."

The RCGP is currently developing a new e-learning course for GPs on gender variance expected to be launched later this year. It has also received funding from the Government Equalities Office to develop resources to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to deliver quality care for LGBT+ patients.