Health Centre failing its trans patients

Health Centres across the country abide by the NHS agreement which says details should be changed in 21 days. Photo: SMUC

Health Centres across the country abide by the NHS agreement which says details should be changed in 21 days. Photo: SMUC

Concerns have been raised surrounding the Campus Health Centre’s treatment of trans students after requests for incorrect patient details on medical records to be changed have been denied.

Trans students have complained that despite repeated requests for their medical records to be updated, they still display incorrect names and gender markers.

This has resulted in difficulties for trans patients, as prescriptions have been printed with incorrect titles, and students being outed to pharmacists having to explain the wrong details in order to receive medication.

Other incidents of incorrect names and gender markers have occurred on letters sent to trans students, risking outing them to housemates, and on internal correspondences between medical practitioners, negating the use of the correspondences to the patient as a record of their treatment.

Emma Brownbill, YUSU LGBT Officer, has spoken out, declaring the Health Centre’s actions to be unlawful and an obvious flouting of the Data Protection Act, which states that a written request to change details should be acted upon within 40 days by law, unless a written statement is provided explaining the denial. The NHS agreement states that a request should be actioned within 21 days.

The Union Council, has since passed a vote of No Confidence in the Health Centre, declaring that it cannot trust it to “treat trans patients with due dignity and respect.”

The Council is insisting the Health Centre come into compliance with the law, and issue a letter of apology to all affected trans patients.

“When they [Health Centre] are breaking the law change is an immediate necessity“
Emma Brownbill

Brownbill stated that the Health Centre had “systematically misrepresented its obligation to patients,” calling its actions both “unlawful” and “unacceptable.”

“NHS policy and basic courtesy dictate that when a patient presents with a gender related issue, they be given the choice as to name and pronouns and that that choice be universally respected.”

Furthermore, trans patients have accused the Health Centre of an excessive focus on their trans status, stating that it has been unnecessarily included in documentation regarding unrelated aspects of their health, resulting in frustration for trans patients.

Brownbill further criticised the Health Centre for it slow response to complaints: “It appears that the Health Centre does not understand the gravity of the situation – when they are breaking the law, change is an immediate necessity, not something to be looked in to.”

The Health Centre responded to the complaints, stating: “We are working closely with members of the LGBT community to resolve the issues raised. We have sought guidance from our PCT on how best to follow the current guidance in the NHS on the care of gender variant people.

“The Health Centre values the open dialogue between the Practice and the LGBT community and wish to reassure our patients that we are working hard to resolve this matter. Patient confidentiality is of paramount importance.”

One comment

  1. 21 Jun ’11 at 4:33 pm

    Anonymous trans man

    It is now two whole years since the Health Centre was made aware that I am a man and not a woman. That’s two whole years that my sex has been incorrectly recorded on their system as “Female”, two years of excuses, denials and on occasion flat out refusals to follow NHS policy.

    My title is incorrectly listed in their system as “Ms” when every other organisation that holds details about me (the Uni, the bank, the student loan company, the Passport Office, the *government* …) has my title as “Mr” and all but the gorvernment have me listed as “male”. I perfectly legally put myself as “Male” on the census. Only the Health Centre insist that I’m “Female” and only the Health Centre who insist on calling me “Ms”.

    They also refused to update my name at all in the first instance – falsely claiming that it was NHS policy that my name must be the same gender as they say I am. This policy does not exist and they only changed my name when I pointed out they were breaking the law by not cchanging it.

    I’ve been accused of faking my prescriptions, everyone who works at the Health Centre knows I’m trans because my medical file outs me to anyone who sees it. I have to say I’m female on the check in screen and if there’s a queue people could find out i’m trans..

    I have no privacy there. And this has been the case for two years despite repeatedly asking them to correct the details they hold on me. They’ve even suggested that I’ll need surgery before they can fix my records – which simply isn’t true.
    I’ve given them links to the Department of Health website and shown them the actual NHS policies that they are refusing to follow.

    This has affected my entire academic career. It needed fixing before I got here. It needs fixing now.