According to a recent report from the Royal College of Nursing, most nurses feel that lack of training means that the health service is unprepared to provide the appropriate care to transgender people.
While the RCN recognises that there has been a marked increase in demand for services from transgender patients in the past few years, in line with findings from other recent studies, they also suggest that transgender patients 'regularly face prejudice and a lack of understanding, as well as persistent disadvantage in accessing appropriate health care'.
From over 1,200 nursing staff surveyed by the RCN, only 13% reported feeling prepared to meet the needs of transgender patients they cared for. Lack of training and Continuing Professional Development are some of the highlighted problems. Wendy Irwin, RCN Diversity and Equalities Coordinator said: 'support through learning and development is urgently required if we are to provide the care and support people need'.
Lisa Vine, Project Lead of the Young Transgender Centre of Excellence run by the Leicester LGBT Centre, was on BBC Radio Leicester last week talking about this issue: 'Some people just don't know what they are supposed to do. For a young person or an adult trans person, going to the GP might be the first person they've ever disclosed to. If a GP or a nurse says they don't know anything about that, what does that say to somebody who is looking for guidance or support? It can definitely increase their feeling of isolation...'