What do you do when your GP refuses to treat you for a rare medical condition? A friend of mine would like to know.
Since 2009, she’s been jumping though hoops trying to access treatment for her gender dysphoria. Having taken the daunting step to confront her gender identity issues, she’s also had to battle a team of GPs intent on denying her treatment to which she is legally entitled in this country. She shouldn’t have to wait for it; not without good cause.
I asked her to send me a timeline of events, so that I could pass her details onto someone who might be able to help her. My friend appreciates her privacy, but she is also keen to share what she has been through with the rest of the trans community. I’ve kept it anonymous, but just take a look at how she’s been messed about:
Over the years I have seen many different GP’s but they have all been under the supervision of my Primary GP Dr XXXXX X XXXXX.
- I was referred by Dr X XXXXXXX to see a psychiatrist for Gender Assessment on the 20/10/2009.
- I was seen by Dr XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX on the 18/02/2010 where she made my initial referral to Charing Cross GIC.
- CHX acknowledged my referral on the 13/04/2010.
- Letter received from CHX on the 20/05/2010 offering me my 1st appointment with Dr Lorimer for the 26/11/2010.
- New member of staff joined CHX and I received a letter on the 02/07/2010 informing me that I would now have my 1st appointment with Dr Christina Richards on the 10/08/2010 and my appointment with Dr Lorimer would be my second.
- My appointment with Dr Lorimer on the 26/11/2010 resulted in him referring me to Dr Leighton Seal for assessment of Oestrogen and requesting an application for Hair Removal to be actioned by my GP (this never happened).
- Appointment made to see Dr Lorimer on the 30/03/2011.
- Letter received from CHX on the 14/12/2010 for an appointment with Dr Seal on the 16/12/2010. • My appointment with Dr Seal resulted in him requesting my GP to start me on Warfarin and once I was at a stable level then begin Oestrogen with agreement from Dr Lorimer.
- My GP stated that they do not refer nor could not begin a warfarin treatment and that I would need to seek the referral from CHX to my local Hospital. I would have to take this up with Dr Lorimer when I next saw him.
- My appointment with Dr Lorimer on 30/03/2011 resulted in him reiterating that I was suitable for treatment and that the GP should refer me for Warfarin to begin my Oestrogen treatment as soon as possible. A copy of the Pan London shared guidelines was sent to my GP.
- Letter received from CHX on the 31/03/2011 for an appointment with Dr Seal on the 17/06/2011 for an Oestrogen review.
- I was finally referred to the Warfarin clinic by my GP and began my treatment on 23/05/2011.
- My appointment with Dr Seal on the 17/06/2011 was unfortunately a waste of time from Dr Seal’s point of view. He had expected me to have been “warfarinised” and on a course of oestrogen by the time I had seen him but, due to my GP’s unwillingness to treat me, I was only on Warfarin. He advised me that he would contact my GP and remind them that they had a duty to begin my Oestrogen treatment ASAP, as per the shared care guidelines.
- Letter sent to my GP from CHX dated 07/07/2011 enclosing shared care agreement again and requesting they start my treatment. GP claims that this letter was never received by them.
- Appointment with my Primary psychiatrist Dr X XXXXXXXX on the 21/07/2011 to discuss anti-depressant medication and my general well-being where out of the blue he mentioned that Dr Az Hakeem had been contacted and had met with the practice to talk to the Dr’s regarding treatment trans patients (though I am the only trans patient they have) and had information for me. I told Dr XXXXXXXX that this was not something I was interested in pursuing, due to Dr Hakeem’s history.
- Letter sent to my GP from CHX dated 22/07/2011 again enclosing shared care agreement and requesting again the start of my treatment.
- Appointment with my GP on the 27/07/2011 to discuss finally beginning treatment and prescribing of Oestrogen where I was basically told that the GP was unhappy to prescribe the HRT and that they would not go further with treatment as none of the GP’s are comfortable with the treatment, potential side effects or legal responsibilities.
- Some hours later my GP called to confirm that they had informed CHX that they were unwilling to treat me as per the discussion in my appointment and that in his word’s that treating me was “not his cup of tea”
In conclusion, I have spoken again to CHX who have advised they will write yet again to my GP, but that ultimately I may have to change GP practice – although I may find that I am faced with the same problem again.
This is outrageous. I truly hope that anyone else having a hard time accessing medical care will contact any of the various organisations, like the Gender Trust and GIRES, who can help tackle such injustices. I also find it more than a little sinister that Az Hakeem has somehow found his way into the mix: thank goodness my friend had some prior awareness of him.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to put up with this. If you find yourself in this situation, report your “care” providers to the General Medical Council. And remember: your doctor is meant to help you get better – not push you into a depression.