This Section is designed for healthcare professionals and GP Practice staff.

For public information, please visit the Brighton and Hove CCG public home page.

Supporting Patients

Guide To Supporting Patients Accessing Specialist Gender Identity Services

Section 6.0

What this section covers:

  • Types of support patients may find useful
  • Sources of information and support

The factors that may lead a person to visit a GP about gender issues are very varied. They may be very certain about their feelings, situation and needs and be simply looking for a referral to a SGIS. Other patients may be confused, anxious and uncertain, just having a sense that something is ‘wrong’ and that help is needed. Children and young people may also present very differently and may require working with the family in a more intensive way than with adults.

Every person’s gender transition journey is unique, ranging from those who struggle for self-acceptance to those who joyously embrace their gender variance, with many experiencing a range of emotions in between. Feelings can change over time as the person gathers more information and experience, assesses their options and makes decisions about how best to proceed.

Some will simply want the benefit of a sympathetic GP. Others may need more intensive support. What is clear is that many people undergoing gender transition express a strong need for information, support and contact with other trans people as they negotiate these challenges and joys. There may also be implications for partners and family members who may need information and support too. Some options that may be helpful include:

  • Individual counselling
  • Couples counselling
  • Support groups for trans people
  • Support groups for families/partners of trans people (‘SOFFAs')
  • Non-statutory mental health services
  • NHS mental health services
  • Helplines
  • Self-help books and online resources.

You can find a list of local and national support services in Section 6.1.

GPs play a central role in supporting patients undergoing gender transition. Working collaboratively with SGIS can be an enormously rewarding application of clinical practice, enabling a patient to access the information, support and treatment they need to live an empowered and authentic life.


Introduction Guide Home Page
Section 1.0 About This Guide
Section 1.1 Why This Guide Is Needed
Section 1.2 Current Context
Section 2.0 Developing Understanding About Trans People
Section 2.1 New Thinking About Gender
Section 2.2 About Trans Identities
Section 2.3 About Gender Pronouns
Section 3.0 High Quality Services for Trans People
Section 3.1 Getting It Right
Section 3.2 A Special Note on Children and Young People
Section 3.3 A Special Note on Screening: Screen for the Organs Present
Section 4.0 Understanding the Patient Groups
Section 4.1 Understanding Specialist Gender Identity Services
Section 4.2 The Approach to Treatment
Section 4.3 Treatment Protocols
Section 4.4 Available Treatments - Adults
Section 4.5 Available Treatments - Children and Young People
Section 4.6 The Role of the GP
Section 5.0 Changing NHS Records
Section 5.1 Information Sharing - The Gender Recognition Act 2004
Section 5.2 Medical Reports
Section 6.0 Supporting Patients
Section 6.1 Sources of Information and Support
Section 7.0 Glossary