Transgender Care

GPs are most often the first point of contact with the health care system for individuals questioning their gender. In some cases, GPs can be the first people they confide in about their gender identity or uncertainties about their gender identity. General practice plays a vital role in ensuring these patients receive the care they need. GPs are expected to approach the holistic care of gender-questioning and transgender patients as they do with every patient – openly, respectfully, sensitively and without bias.

The Royal College of GPs recognises that GPs are not experienced in treating and managing patients with gender dysphoria and trans health issues. Gender dysphoria and gender identity issues are not part of the GP curriculum or GP Specialty Training, and GPs are currently required to refer patients experiencing gender dysphoria to gender identity specialists for further assessment and treatment advice. GPs face difficulties in accessing gender identity specialists in a timely way which often has severe implications for the mental and physical health of their patients. As such, GPs are under increasing pressure to provide services which are usually provided in specialist clinics, as they lie outside the remit of a GPs generalist expertise, with limited access to specialist support.

There is an urgent need to increase the capacity of gender identity specialists and clinics and expand the understanding of gender variance issues across the entire health system, including more definitive knowledge about the causes of rapidly increasing referrals and the outcomes of interventions or 'wait and see' policies. The gaps in education, guidance and training for GPs around treating gender dysphoria for both adults and children, and managing broader trans health issues, also needs to be urgently addressed.

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