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‘Gender-diverse patients face horrendous healthcare experience’

Nurses urged to challenge transphobia and discrimination amid accounts of micro-aggressions, harassment and insensitive care at the hands of NHS staff
RCN congress speaker Liz Curr proposed the debate on the care of trans and non-binary people

Nurses urged to challenge transphobia and discrimination amid accounts of micro-aggressions, harassment and insensitive care at the hands of NHS staff

Nurses have a key role to play in improving care for trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people, who face discrimination and unacceptably long waits for treatment.

This message came from a debate at this year’s RCN congress on the difficulties people identifying as gender-diverse face in accessing care and treatment.

Liz Curr from the RCN’s East Kent branch, who proposed the debate, described the situation as ‘horrendously bad’.

‘Gender-diverse patients currently report care that is undignified, uncivilised, disrespectful, often being mis-gendered, subjected to inappropriate or unwanted attention, or they feel ignored,’

Nurses urged to challenge transphobia and discrimination amid accounts of micro-aggressions, harassment and insensitive care at the hands of NHS staff

RCN congress speaker Liz Curr proposed the debate on the care of trans and non-binary people
Liz Curr speaking to the congress audience in Glasgow Picture: John Houlihan

Nurses have a key role to play in improving care for trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people, who face discrimination and unacceptably long waits for treatment.

This message came from a debate at this year’s RCN congress on the difficulties people identifying as gender-diverse face in accessing care and treatment.

Liz Curr from the RCN’s East Kent branch, who proposed the debate, described the situation as ‘horrendously bad’.

‘Gender-diverse patients currently report care that is undignified, uncivilised, disrespectful, often being mis-gendered, subjected to inappropriate or unwanted attention, or they feel ignored,’ she said.

She said as ‘a proud trans woman’, she had experienced micro-aggression and harassment from NHS staff and had been subjected to a transphobic attack at work. She said nurses had a responsibility to challenge discrimination and educate others.

‘We have the ability to lead by example, to inform those around us by being good role models and continually updating our knowledge in order to improve the lives of others,’ she said.

Delegates at this year’s congress had previously voted to campaign for a blanket ban on conversion therapy for LGBT people.

Insensitive care and inadequacy of transition-related services

A 2021 survey of almost 700 trans people by Trans Actual UK found 70% of respondents reported being affected by transphobia in healthcare services.

Many said they avoided going to the doctor when they felt unwell. Meanwhile almost half (47%) said they felt transition-related healthcare available on the NHS was inadequate.

Deandra Challoner tells RCN's 2022 congress audience about his poor experience of healthcare
Deandra Challoner Picture: John Houlihan

Today’s debate featured distressing accounts of transphobia and poor care and claims that those who can afford to feeling forced to seek private treatment to avoid long delays.

Deandra Challoner from RCN Glasgow and Clyde branch said she had been waiting for her first appointment for five- and-a-half years.

‘In no other area of healthcare would waiting times of this length be accepted,’ she said.

She said she had experienced insensitive care in the NHS, including staff making assumptions about her personal pronouns and ‘often getting it wrong’.

‘We need better education of nurses in the hospitals to make sure things like that don’t happen,’ she said.


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