This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 28 August, 2017
This month saw the 10th anniversary of Doncaster’s first Pride event as an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets to join in the popular annual celebration, which is organised by the local Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
It was a far cry from a decade ago in August 2007, when I believe a small group of people arranged South Yorkshire’s first Pride event – in Doncaster – watched by around 1,500 people who braved a rainy day to lend their support.
Since then, Doncaster’s Pride celebrations have gone from strength to strength, growing bigger and bringing people together in a spectacular, colourful event, with the spirit of tolerance and understanding. Long may this continue.
I am a true believer in fairness across all sections of society, especially within the NHS. When it comes to health, nobody should be discriminated against because they are perceived to be ‘different’ from the mainstream population. I am glad that we have a diverse population in Doncaster and I and my colleagues are committed to managing a health service that meets the differing needs of the people we care for, in a fair and equitable way.
At the clinical commissioning group which I Chair, we have a volunteer who represents the interests of the local LGBT community, alongside other health ‘ambassadors’ – a group we helped create which brings together the voices of similar hard to reach groups in the community.
We are currently highlighting a 12 weeks long public consultation that NHS England has launched on proposals for new service plans that, if adopted, will determine how specialised gender identity services for adults will be organised and provided in the future.
There is a link to the consultation on our website if you would like to take part: https://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/7450/gender-services-consultation-launched/ The NHS is keen to hear from a cross-section of the community, including trans-people, patient groups, clinicians and professional bodies before making a decision.
Prior to the launch of the consultation, some people requested that NHS England use the new service specifications to introduce certain surgical interventions that are currently not routinely available on the NHS, such as other cosmetic procedures or reversal of previous gender reassignment surgery but later regretted having undergone the procedure.
However, NHS England decided that the consultation and introduction of the eventual service specification would not include the introduction of new treatments or interventions that are not currently routinely available as other ways currently exist for this to happen.
This is clearly a particularly complex consultation, on a very specialist area of health, but it does underline how the NHS is trying to meet the wide ranging care needs of the diverse population it serves.
The consultation closes on 30 September, 2017.