At Spectra we are appalled and dismayed that thousands of transgender people are facing difficulty accessing their medication today. A major private healthcare provider has reported that the chemist they partner with will no longer be permitted to fulfil prescriptions, due to regulatory action by the General Pharmaceutical Council.
These irresponsible restrictions, which came into effect without notice, have left people with no access to hormone replacement therapy and other transition-related medications and treatment. For many this gap in their treatment will have a severe impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Given the 3-4 year waiting times for a first appointment at a majority of NHS gender identity services, many people have no alternative but to turn to private healthcare providers for their trans healthcare need, whilst others feel they have no option but to self-medicate. This situation has only been exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
At Spectra we see the distress this is causing to many trans people and stand with them. The right to exist as transgender and/or non-binary is a fundamental basic human right, as is the right to access healthcare. Trans people deserve timely access to appropriate services, and should not be put through constant questioning, degradation and abuse in doing so; all trans and non-binary identities are valid.
We want to emphasise that we are here for trans and non-binary communities, and provide a range of mental health and wellbeing services. You can find information about our counselling, mentoring and social groups here: https://spectra-london.org.uk/trans-gender-services/.
If you are struggling with the news and need to speak to someone urgently, several organisations run trans support helplines: you can find a list of these on the Trans Health UK website here: https://transhealthuk.noblogs.org/faq-covid-19-trans-health/#q13. Samaritans’ helpline is also open 24 hours a day on 116 123: http://samaritans.org.
If you have already begun a course of hormone treatment, good practice guidelines from the Royal College of Psychiatrists advise that this should not be stopped: https://transhealthuk.noblogs.org/files/2020/07/RCPsych-CR181-Good-practice-guidelines-for-the-assessment-and-treatment-of-adults-with-gender-dysphoria.pdf.
You may therefore wish to speak with your GP about arranging a bridging prescription. GPs are under no formal obligation to provide this, but the General Medical Council provides guidance on bridging prescriptions as an important harm reduction measure: .
Finally, if you wish reach out you can always contact us at: .
October 8, 2020