Today’s first phone calls have proven positive. However, these were just the first echelon response, so I guess I should be prepared for a few knock-backs before I arrive.
First to my GP practice, where I am starting to put in hand a) name change (without deed poll, naturally!) and b) shifting to a female GP. It was difficult enough to cope with a bloke before Friday: now it is impossible, which is a shame, because the GP I DO have right now has never done anything but his best for me, is a very gentle caring bloke, and tries his best.
Its just…well, he can’t help being a bloke!
Next to the GIC, where I spoke to a very nice lady – Linda – who did her best to persuade me to give them another chance. Detail? Well, I actually started out by giving her something of a hard time. Sublimated a little bit of anger but…it wasn’t her fault, and just venting at her wasn’t going to get me anywhere much.
On the other hand, I did obtain one or two answers to questions which are both instructive and possibly useful for follow-up around official complaints.
Basically, they are NOT meant to call you out in reception with your previous name. So someone may speak to their consultant.
They DO continue to insist on deed polls…which means that whilst Inland Revenue, HM Customs and Excise, the Home Office, the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages, the Electoral Registration Officer and all of the NHS (apart from GIC’s) – to name but a few! – are happy to take a name change without a deed poll, Charing Cross says not.
That leaves them in a select group of a very few institutions that includes nPower, Tescos Clubcard, and most major banks.
I asked about whether they insisted on proof of name change for their staff – and she couldn’t confirm or deny: interesting, since at least one member of the GIC staff has changed her (first) name in the last few years and I’d bet no proof was required. That, in case anyone is wondering, is almost certainly discriminatory – as too is the claim that failure to provide documentation means that they can’t link old and new records.
Er, no. When I change my name in the NHS system, they will have to deal with that issue like every other bit of the NHS in the land. Presence or absence of deed poll makes no difference whatsoever to that issue.
Some difference between her view of whether a helpline number should have been dished out or not. My inside tracker says to me that it should: Linda says not, although literature is available in reception.
Also started to get to the heart of other technical issues, like: what the hell was the status of the consultation I just had. Did it make me a patient, even?
We sort of agreed it didn’t. Because, basically, if it did, then I would have to stop seeing my private consultant and, since I need to continue treatment for the time being (not least to monitor any side-effects of the hormones I am taking) that relationship needs to continue until it stops.
Her understanding – to be confirmed – was that following a second assessment, which would have been in February, they would possibly offer to take me on as a patient, at which point I would have to choose. Perfectly reasonable – and a million miles from the bowdlerised version offered me on Friday.
So. I need to write back to her.
Next: I spoke to the pct and have asked them to refuse to shell out for the consult I just had. I suggested that they should not pay a) because I would be taking this forward as an instance of discriminatory and abusive behaviour, and b) because it felt very much like “make-work”. I raised with both the pct and Charing Cross the refusal of their consultant even to look at the blood work done to date and insistence I re-do it…as well as the fact that instead of acknowledging where I was now, I got treated as though this was day one of my transition.
But someone needs to pick this up. If Charing Cross are to be believed, the only trustworthy phlebotomy departtment in the UK (that’s bloods, that is!) is situated in Charing Cross hospital. If true, this is a national disgrace and something must be done. Alternatively, it is more of the money-grubbing culture that seems to surround this whole business.
On the positive side, I told the pct that legal precedent granted me the right to seek treatment for gender dysphoria. That following my abusive treatment at the hands of Charing Cross, I could not be expected to go back there. And that I would ask them to consider paying for an alternative private provider.
No promises…but they seem likely to be able to get an answer back to me on that one in the next week or so.
Of course, if the answer is no, then legal fall-out will follow. But still, it could go some way to establishing an important point of principle for trans men and women everywhere (or if its already been established, please let me know and I’ll feed it into my case).
More news soon.