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Taking action for inclusive healthcare in Leicester & Leicestershire

Campaigners take action for inclusive healthcare

Community leaders in Leicester & Leicestershire took action for safer, accessible and inclusive healthcare for trans and non-binary people.

By Pete Rogers

A campaigner speaks in a meeting room about their campaign for inclusive healthcare for trans and non binary people.

In the months leading up to February 2024, the Access to Healthcare team in Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens had been listening to numerous stories around the barriers that exist for trans and non-binary people in accessing safe and effective healthcare.

According to Stonewall’s Trans Report in 2017, 41% of trans people in the UK said that healthcare staff lacked understanding of specific trans health needs.

On 19th February 2024, campaigners from Leicester Citizens took action to improve healthcare accessibility for trans and non-binary people.

30 people gathered at St Martins House, home of the local Anglican Diocese, to share stories, unpack their strategy for change, and put their proposals to NHS leaders.

The campaigners shared powerful testimonies of the stark reality of navigating the healthcare system as a trans person.

"One of our hopes with the campaign - as well as our asks that we think would begin to make a significant improvement in how trans people experience health care, and which we believe can contribute to averting longer-term health inequalities for trans people in Leicester and Leicestershire - is that this campaign would begin to challenge and break through some of the public narratives that are used to debate trans people and their lives. What our campaign has found through sitting down and sharing stories is that the issues that impact the lives of trans and non-binary people also impact other groups. These issues intersect with mental health, ethnicity, language, economic power and much more. Of course, there is always more we can do to ensure this campaign is broad-based." Anna - a member of the campaign team.

They delivered worthwhile and winnable policy proposals, including:

  1. Tell Us Once Policy
  2. Identify a Trans Care Champion GP/nurse in every practise in the primary care network
  3. The ICB commit to ongoing trans inclusion training

Alice McGee, Chief People Officer for NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB responded positively:

"Thank you for being so generous with your stories, with your lives. My commitment is to take away these very reasonable asks and work on them."

A campaigner reads out a campaign ask from a slide which reads: 'The ICB commit to ongoing trans inclusion training'.

Roz and Gavin reflect on the importance of the campaign:

The campaign has been and continues to be a steep learning curve and a fascinating way to meet the best variety of people I've experienced for some time. Hearing the heart-breaking stories of those impacted by poor access has galvanised me to listen more to marginalised peoples, and to question the failing systems that let us all down. Discovering the machinations of the NHS reminds me of Orwellian dystopia. The power of working together and seeing how different people contribute so that a synergy is created is moving. My hope is that this initial stage of the campaign will set a pattern for developing relationships that will enable all groups of marginalised people to gain from the groundwork put in place at the moment. Roz - a member of the campaign team.

Hearing the stories of local trans people about their frustrating and sometimes dehumanising experiences of accessing appropriate healthcare has been very powerful, as a cis ally. Working with trans friends to identify achievable ‘asks’ has helped me to be a more confident advocate for trans healthcare in my professional interactions with the NHS and other health providers. One of the joys of the campaign has been building a strong local network of colleagues – across the voluntary and statutory sectors – who are committed to improving access to healthcare for trans people in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland. Gavin - a member of the campaign team.

Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens is a local Citizens UK chapter.

Together, we organise to overcome injustice and win change on the things that you and your local communities care about most across the city and county.

Posted by Aanisah Khan on 26 Jun, 2024