New process for changing name and gender in NHS Coventry

The below document was issued last month following consultation with local trans activists. It should make life a lot easier for people who are changing their name and/or gender with a G.P. or dentist within the Coventry Primary Care Trust. If you’re in the Coventry area and are having problems with changing your name and/or gender, this policy should give you the leverage to sort it out. If you live in another area where the P.C.T. is giving you grief, it might be worth trying to cite this as an example of best practice.

    Process for changing name and gender in Primary Care

The purpose of this document is to clarify and bring together already existing legislation and guidance for primary care providers to change the name and gender of trans people who request it.

Considerable legislation(1) already provides explicit protection and rights for trans people in the areas of employment, goods, facilities and services (including health) and for their legal recognition as ordinary men and women in their acquired gender.

“Gender transition is not embarked upon lightly. There is substantial evidence that many trans people encounter extreme violence and discrimination if their background becomes known within their community(2).”

When trans men and women are planning to live permanently in their preferred gender role, they need to ensure that all of their documentation reflects their new name and gender. This includes their passport, driving licence, credit cards and, of course, their medical documentation.

In the UK, anyone can call themselves by any name and any gender that they want to as long as they are not doing it in order to commit fraud. They do not need to use deed poll to change their name nor do trans people have to have a gender recognition certificate to change their gender on documents(3).

There is a simple process for this, which is accepted by many government departments including the Department of Health (4).

1. The patient tells their GP, or directly informs the PCT, that they are transitioning and that in future they would like to be known by their new name and gender(5). They can write a “statutory declaration”, they may have a deed poll document, or they may simply make the request. This request should be in writing, signed by the patient.

2. The GP writes to the Registration Office at the PCT. The GP may write a letter of support confirming the gender role change and that this change is intended to be permanent, but this is not a requirement.

3. The Registration Office then writes to the Personal Demographics’ Service National Back Office. The National Back Office will create a new identity with a new NHS number and requests the records held by the patient’s GP. These records are then transferred to the new identity and forwarded to the GP.

4. On receipt, the GP surgery changes any remaining patient information including the gender marker, pronouns and names. Trans patients have a legal right to change their name and gender on their NHS records and would be able to bring a civil claim against any GP or practice which refused to accede to their request.

Please contact me if you have any queries on the number below.

Helen Bunter
Head of Equality and Human Rights
NHS Coventry
Tel: 024 76246092

(1) The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (amended 2008), Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999, The Equality Act 2006, Gender Recognition Act 2004

(2) http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_089939.pdf

(3) http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_085013.pdf

(4) Press for Change, 2008: “Name Changing on Personal Documents: A Guide for Organisations

(5) http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservices/demographics/pds/ig/access/gender_reassignment/?searchterm=gender%20reassignment

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