Accessing NHS services

The NHS can offer gender-related treatment and support, including access to hormones or surgery for those who need it. For NHS resources, check out our Useful Links page.

As a student, your first point of call might be the University Medical Centre (UMC). Here are some answers to common questions about this service.

Questions

1. When registering at the UMC, which “box” should I tick?

2. How do I change my name, gender, or title in the NHS system?

3. I’m worried about approaching the front desk!

4. Are the UMC staff trained in trans issues?

5. Waiting is difficult/stressful/depressing. Who can I talk to?

6. I’ve been denied funding for treatment. What happens now?


Answers

When registering at the UMC, which “box” should I tick?

All forms which are specific to the UMC (rather than standardized NHS forms) provide for options other than “male” and “female”. However, some of the standardized NHS paperwork you are given may ask you to tick either the “Male” or the “Female” box. Depending on the stage of your transition, and provided you are comfortable doing so, you can pick whichever you think is most appropriate. If you want to disclose your trans status on this form, or if you identify as non-binary, you can write a note in the margins, speak to a secretary, or ask to speak to the practice manager about other options.

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How do I change my name, gender, or title in the NHS system?

For a name change, the UMC will ask to see your deed poll or other legal documentation. You should be able to change your title and gender without having to submit evidence (since the “evidence” would consist of a doctor’s note, and they’re your doctor). All of this can be done by speaking to the front desk. If you encounter difficulties, ask to speak to the manager.

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I’m worried about approaching the front desk/signing in!

If you are worried about approaching the desk in person, you may find it helpful to write down your query on a piece of paper, and hand this to the secretary rather than saying it out loud and being overheard. T-Time members, in general, have reported that the administrative staff have been discreet and helpful in this regard.

When signing in for an appointment, you will be faced with a giant screen then asks you for your gender. If you are uncomfortable using this screen to sign-in for your appointment, you are perfectly entitled to approach the front desk to sign in instead.

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Are the UMC staff trained in trans issues?

Each individual member of staff, whether they are a doctor, nurse, or part of the admin team, is likely to have a different level of experience when it comes to trans issues.

As with any medical situation, it is important to let your healthcare provider know about any medications you are taking or any surgical procedures you may have had, if they ask you for this information. Furthermore, some conditions are diagnosed differently depending on whether a patient is male or female, so it is important that you make this clear to the person treating you.

This can sometimes be stressful for patients. Medical treatment comes up frequently during T-Time meetings, so you can find out more about people’s experiences with particular doctors by getting in touch with the LGBT+ Trans Rep or coming along to a meeting.

Relevant contact: LGBT+ Trans Rep

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Waiting is difficult/stressful/depressing. Who can I talk to?

We know this can be tough. If you are frustrated or having a difficult time, then you can speak to your GP, meet with a University counselor, contact the LGBT+ Trans Rep or come along to a T-Time meeting for support. For more information, click here. If you feel that these issues are affecting your university studies, read this page about mitigating circumstances.

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I’ve been denied funding for trans-related treatment. What can I do?

First of all, you should be aware that all NHS trans-related services are underfunded and understaffed. Unfortunately, this is true throughout the UK. The staff at the UMC will do what they can to help you through the system, but there may be delays or interruptions beyond their control. If you are trying to appeal an NHS funding decision, you should speak to your GP, who will explain the procedure and help you through it.

Doctors are busy, and you might find it necessary to follow up with them for more information. If you were told that you would be contacted in the future, and more than a week has passed since you expected to hear from someone, it’s important that you phone or leave messages. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your treatment will get delayed.

Relevant contact: Your own healthcare provider.

 

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