Gender reassignment is a specialist area of medicine and treatment should be initiated in specialist care, says RCGP

Publication date: 26 February 2019

Dr Jonathan Leach, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, has made the following statement on care of trans patients in general practice.

He said: "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.

"In the vast majority of cases, trans patients will present to the GP with the same conditions that cisgender patients do. 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.

"This is an important area of medicine, but there is a distinct lack of high-quality research in the area, and a lack of reputable clinical guidance available.

"The College is currently funding and developing a new e-learning course for GPs on gender variance, which should be launched later this year. We have also received funding from the Government Equalities Office to develop resources to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to deliver the best quality care for our LGBT+ patients."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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