Improving Medical Care

Not all gender non-conforming individuals need medical interventions. To benefit those that do, globally, GIRES has funded the translation of the recently improved WPATH standards of care into other languages, including Chinese and Russian.

In the UK, GIRES has sought the adoption of those standards by serving on the Intercollegiate Committee that has published the Good Practice Guidelines and the two NHS England (NHSE) Clinical Reference Groups that are developing the specifications for gender identity services, respectively for adults and young people. However, even as standards are improving, capacity within the NHSE Specialist Gender Services for Adults has not, overall, kept pace with the continuing growth in numbers. Waiting lists are often more than a year and worsening.

Financial pressures on NHSE are likely to restrict funding for additional capacity. In order to augment capacity and provide the required equity of access to services for gender non-conforming individuals who need treatment, NHSE may consider upskilling GPs so that the less specialist elements of care can be offered locally and more promptly in tandem with the specialist clinics. This would improve the mental health of the individuals who would otherwise be waiting for care and address the risks associated with their obtaining unsupervised hormone medication via the internet.

Gender treatments are not part of standard medical training in the UK. GIRES is therefore working with health professionals to develop e-learning resources for GPs, school nurses, health visitors, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services, teachers and other providers of health and social care. Through its membership of the National LGB&T Partnership, GIRES is leading a project to develop a series of factsheets that will inform gender nonconforming people about practical ways to improve their own health and wellbeing.