In this blog for BJGP Life, GP and Public Health Specialty Registrar Richard Armitage looks at the patient safety implications of changes made to gender markers on patient records.
Patients in the UK are able to change the gender marker on their NHS patient record on request at any time. This action triggers the creation of a new NHS number and imports the patient’s medical information into a new patient record, without any reference to the patient's previous gender identity or original NHS number.
The author highlights that failure to transfer this information could inhibit high quality care for trans patients, especially with regard to population screening programmes which invite patients according to age and gender markers on their patient record. He argues that public health officials, in collaboration with their primary care colleagues, should:
- respectfully communicate sex-specific health risks with their trans patients
- encourage them to consider requesting and accessing the appropriate population screening programmes
- support them in accessing screening in a dignified manner.