Supporting the health of trans and non-binary people in Southwark


Dr Becky Stephens (pronouns she/her), has been a GP in Southwark for the last 22 years.

Here she shares her story of leading a clinic for trans and non-binary people in south Southwark, and some of the amazing work her and colleagues have done.

"In the last year I have been a member of a small team leading a hub clinic for Southwark general practices called The Bridge Clinic. The Bridge Clinic is an inclusive GP service for trans and non-binary people that provides access to trans healthcare alongside routine GP care in a safe, affirming environment. We work closely with CliniQ who have been very involved in both the inception and design of our clinic.

Until I met a local Practice Nurse called Flora who themselves is a member of the trans and non-binary community, I was under the impression that trans healthcare mostly had to sit in Gender Identity Clinics. I had a small number of trans patients I was aware of because we wrote their hormone prescriptions. I was aware there were long waits for new patients but hadn’t appreciated the degree of difficulties experienced by this population in accessing healthcare. 

transflag heart in a hand

There is relatively little research into this population’s healthcare experiences, less than in other minority groups, but here is an excellent study called the TRanslives study of 2021. The research shows:

  • 14% of trans and non-binary people reported that they were refused GP care on account of being trans on at least one occasion.
  • 57% of trans people reported avoiding going to the doctor when unwell.
  • 45% said their GP did not have a good understanding of their needs as a trans person, rising to 55% for non-binary respondents.
  • 98% of respondents described the transition-related healthcare available on the NHS as not completely adequate, with 47% responding that it is “not at all” adequate.

Our Practice Nurse Flora has been featured on a video by ‘not a phase’ to celebrate LGBT month which has a focus on health. Flora has also led on a training event for our Training Hub and been appointed as a legacy nurse so they can do more work for our Training Hub.

Flora and I attended a parliamentary group led by the trans solidarity alliance with some very famous (in the trans world) activists.  We met with MPs and it was a great networking event.  I spoke on the panel (the only cis person which was a great honour) and we were involved in the discussion and answering MP questions.  We have very active links with CliniQ, Spectra, Transactual, Southwark Metro and Trans solidarity alliance.   This is all great evidence of community and third sector engagement.  Flora has even been asked to look at doing some training for nurses in the Welsh Gender Service."

Published: Mar 14, 2024