QotD: “The royal college for family doctors has scrapped a course it says is making its members uneasy”
The professional body for family doctors has dropped a course provided by a transgender activist charity because GPs felt it pushed them to guide patients towards gender reassignment.
The course on gender variance, which the Royal College of General Practitioners had hosted on its website since 2015, has been withdrawn.
The college’s decision represents a significant response by the medical establishment at a time of growing disquiet about the surging number of children who are transitioning.
Dr Jonathan Leach, honorary secretary, said the online module, developed and paid for by the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (Gires) “risked creating unrealistic expectations for patients regarding the role of the GP in initiating treatment”.
He added: “We understand that access to specialist gender reassignment services in the NHS is inadequate, and that this is incredibly frustrating for trans patients and their families.
“But GPs should not have to bear the brunt of poor access to specialist services by being put in a position where they are being asked to prescribe treatment that they are not trained to prescribe or monitor safely without expert support.”
Gires said it developed the course to help GPs assessing young trans people and adults. Gires paid the college £7,837 to host the course on its website.
But the two fell out after the college made changes to the course without informing Gires. The college objected to the charity Mermaids, which supports transgender children and their families, being recommended for referrals, saying: “Delete Mermaids from the list of people to use for support and just use Gires. Mermaids have become very controversial.”