Trans and Non-binary People (Healthcare)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

5. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve healthcare for trans and non-binary people. (S5O-03545)

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government expects everyone, including trans and non-binary people, to be to be treated fairly and equally and with respect when they seek healthcare. That was set out in the charter of patient rights and responsibilities that was published under the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011. An updated charter was published in June.

The charter states that everyone

“will be treated fairly and equally and will not be discriminated against.”

It says that

“access to health services will never be affected or refused because of unlawful discrimination based on ... age, disability, sex or sexuality, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national background), or religion or belief.”

The charter also sets out people’s right to be treated with consideration, dignity and respect when they access services in the national health service.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

The minister will be aware of a BBC report last week about the extremely long wait for treatment that trans people, in particular, face before they can even begin hormone therapy. The minister might also be aware that the First Minister, speaking at an event in Parliament last week, made it clear that she recognises that the situation in Scotland is not what it should be and that significant improvement is needed. I hope that the minister will agree with that and with the view of the Scottish Trans Alliance that having some people wait two years for a first appointment is unacceptable and that huge progress could be achieved with a relatively small increase in the resources that are spent in this area.

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

I agree with the comments of the First Minister and with what the Scottish Trans Alliance said about those waits being unacceptable. The service is currently managed by the national services division of NHS National Services Scotland. It commissions national managed clinical networks, which aim to foster improved standards and quality in healthcare.

Those NMCNs include the gender identity clinic network for Scotland, which is a network of clinicians and others who have an interest in the treatment and support that is offered to trans people and to people who are distressed or concerned about their experience of their gender, including clarifying issues around access to surgery for trans people. That clinical network works with the Scottish gender reassignment protocol, which it has requested be reviewed in the light of the Scottish public health network publication on the topic and changes to international standards that are due by 2020. We are taking that request forward. I absolutely agree with the points that were made, and I hope that we see progress.

The Presiding Officer:

I am afraid that we are out of time, so that concludes portfolio question time. I highlight the fact that we got through all the education questions. However, I apologise to Rona Mackay and Jackie Baillie, who had questions on health and sport, and to the minister, who did not get a chance to respond. I encourage all members and ministers to be succinct in their questions and answers.