Britney Spaulding said it was not uncommon for health professionals to not know how to deal with a trans patient. She has shared her story of when a GP just handed her over hormones with no information on how to use them. Picture: Adam Head
Britney Spaulding said it was not uncommon for health professionals to not know how to deal with a trans patient. She has shared her story of when a GP just handed her over hormones with no information on how to use them. Picture: Adam Head

Trans patients turned away or mistreated by GPs

TRANSGENDER people are being turned away or mistreated by Queensland doctors who are ill equipped to treat them, leading to calls for an overhaul of medical studies.

Prominent Brisbane GP Dr Fiona Bisshop said doctors' lack of knowledge when treating transgender patients was putting lives at risk.

She said there was "no great expectation" for young doctors to learn how to treat transgender patients.

"When it comes to looking at proper medical care, in terms of hormones, most doctors feel they don't have enough knowledge," she said.

"Patients have been refused treatment because the treating doctor didn't know what to do."

The Sunday Mail has learnt of various instances where transgender patients have received poor treatment. In one case, a 24-year-old male who had been on testosterone for six years was denied a script by four GPs and ended up menstruating.

In another case, a transgender person went to an emergency department with a gall bladder complaint only to be grilled about whether they had undergone gender reassignment surgery, followed by an examination of their genitalia.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners member Dr Bruce Willett said GPs needed to upskill.

"I think it is really important that transmedicine is now part of mainstream medicine," he said, and "that transpeople do not feel discriminated against".

Beenleigh resident Britney Spaulding, 27, (pictured) said she visited a GP when she was 19 because she wanted to start transitioning.

"The doctor just read out the names of drugs until I said one sounded familiar," she said. "He gave me no information on how to use it, and I ended up stopping because I didn't have enough information."

Ms Spaulding said the doctor was not properly trained in administering hormones.

"He didn't take a blood test to see what my levels were … it could have been dangerous."

Dr Bisshop said patients had started withholding information from doctors to protect themselves.

But Queensland Health said hospitals did not turn away patients who were in need of health care, adding: "Our staff treat all patients with respect."

News Corp Australia


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