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NHS won’t put pronoun choice on GP records despite report claiming trans patients are being failed

 

NHS won’t put pronoun choice on GP records despite report claiming trans patients are being failed by lack of data

  • The London Assembly says trans and gender-diverse patients are being failed
  • Its health committee called for preferred pronouns to be used in medical records
  • But the NHS ‘does not have plans’ to add pronouns or trans status to documents


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The NHS has rebuffed a demand to note patients’ preferred pronouns and trans status on their medical records.

A report by the London Assembly’s health committee says trans and gender-diverse patients are being failed by a lack of NHS data on gender identity.

Some experience ‘misgendering, micro-aggressions, and misunderstanding’ and may be deterred from booking an appointment, it adds.

The report found that 70 per cent of trans people had experienced discrimination from their primary care provider, with 14 per cent claiming they were refused GP care because they were trans.

Incorrect medical records that fail to take account of patients’ individual circumstances may result in a trans patient missing out on life-saving tests, it warns.

The NHS said it 'currently does not have any plans' to add patients' pronouns or trans status to medical records, despite calls from the London Assembly The NHS said it 'currently does not have any plans' to add patients' pronouns or trans status to medical records, despite calls from the London Assembly

The NHS said it ‘currently does not have any plans’ to add patients’ pronouns or trans status to medical records, despite calls from the London Assembly

This is because the way gender is noted in GP records determines who is automatically invited for screening, including for breast and cervical cancer.

An NHS spokesman said: ‘The NHS does not currently have any plans to add pronouns or trans status to medical records. 

‘We continue to work… to ensure that nobody faces undue barriers to getting the care they need, when they need it.’

The London Assembly document, published yesterday, stated: ‘To avoid the harmful impact of mispronouning and misgendering, NHS Digital should improve NHS IT systems so that all healthcare providers can record trans status in a consistent and inclusive way.’

The committee investigated health inequalities among the capital’s trans and gender-diverse (TGD) population and examined ways to improve access to care.

It found 70 per cent of trans people had experienced discrimination from their primary care provider, with 14 per cent refused GP care because they were trans.

Caroline Russell, chair of the London Assembly Health Committee, said: ‘We were told during our investigation that without data, you are invisible.

‘It is clear that trans and gender-diverse people are being failed by this absence of appropriate recording, which is having a significant impact at both an individual and population level.

‘Training NHS staff and adjusting NHS IT systems to be trans inclusive could reduce health inequalities and greatly improve the general healthcare experience for trans and gender-diverse Londoners.’

The way gender is noted in GP records determines who is automatically invited for screening programmes such as breast and cervical.

However, systems currently fail to take account of patients’ individual circumstances and ‘trans history’.

The report says: ‘Greater awareness and understanding of TGD people and their healthcare needs is required within the NHS to deliver good quality, personalised care and support.

‘The absence of mandatory training for new and existing clinical and non-clinical NHS staff has hindered their ability to gain the confidence and skills needed to support TGD patients effectively.

‘A fear of getting it wrong also makes it difficult to drive progress in this area.’

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