NHS apologises for allocating trans nurse for smear test after patient complaint

Joseph McCormick December 31, 2017
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A doctor giving the uncomfortable news (stevanovicigor)

"Treatment should be made available in order to ensure that access to health services is free of discrimination" (stevanovicigor)

The NHS has apologised after allocating a trans woman nurse to perform a smear test on a patient.

The woman, who did not go through with the smear test over being given a trans nurse, said she felt “embarrassed” by having been allocated the nurse.

She described the nurse as having “stubble and a beard” and said she was “clearly a man”.


The woman had requested a female nurse for the smear test and told the Sunday Times that she was “distressed” when she saw the nurse.

But the nurse said she was trans and that she was not male.

The patient, however, told the Times it was “weird where somebody says to you ‘my gender is not male’ and you think: ‘well, what does that even mean? You’re clearly a man!'”

Describing the nurse, she said she had an “obviously male appearance…close-cropped hair, a male facial appearance and voice, a large number of tattoos and facial stubble.”

The NHS issued an apology after the woman did not go through with the smear test at the North West London NHS Foundation clinic on 16 September 2016.

She adds: “People who are not comfortable about this are presented as bigots and this is kind of how I was made to feel about it.”

Surgical Instruments

And the patient denied that she was complaining because of the nurse’s appearance or gender identity.

Meanwhile, trans patients on the NHS face a two-and-a-half-year wait for appointments.

There are seven Gender Identity Clinics across the UK which help people deal with their medical needs around transition.

All of the clinics have reported an upswing in referrals in the past few years, as more trans people come forward to seek treatment.


This comes as activists call for the NHS to ask patients about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

A consultation on how to best collect the data of patients trans status is currently underway and was due to report back at the end of 2017.

More: NHS, Trans, Transgender

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