From: "Christine Burns"

To: "Press for Change News Distribution"

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 10:55 AM

Subject: UK: The Comments The Guardian Declined to Print


The following is, word for word, what I provided on invitation from
The Guardian's David Batty, and which he declined to use on the basis
that they "...required a degree of knowledge of this case and the
wider issues of GID care that the general reader lacks."

He clearly has a poor opinion of his readers.

- Christine




"This case has served to emphasise the need for practitioners and
other stakeholders in this field to refine approaches which enable
patients to feel they are being supported and respected. This is vital
if the pressures on doctors to respond to the very real distress and
urgency of patients are to be alleviated, allowing more time for
dialogue and reflection on all sides."

"It's difficult from a distance for outsiders to appreciate the care
which Dr Reid felt he was giving, faced with patients already
brutalised to the point where a further setback or rejection was
likely to lead to no care at all and possible suicide from despair.
That's the moral dilemma faced by most who practice in this field.
What value is there in 'going by the book' if you lose the patient to
black market hormones and unregulated surgeries abroad, or them
killing themselves?"

"It's a pity that the GMC was not more able to really hear more of
that reality through the evidence it was constrained to consider, as
I'm sure many trans people will see this judgement and feel that the
real story -- the one they've lived through -- hasn't been understood.
It's also a tragedy that the history of marginalisation in this field
of care should have led to this point."

"The long duration of this case has delayed progress on dealing with
these challenges but now the important thing is to focus more on work
to ensure that trans people are cared for better throughout the
National Health Service. People with gender issues need to be referred
for assessment promptly, to a choice of provision near to where they
live. Mental Health professionals need to look more carefully at the
balance between sensible caution and creating unreasonable hoops that
simply drive patients out of their care. If the NHS cares then these
are the kinds of progress desperately needed to show it's not all just
sanctimonious rhetoric. Never has there been an area of care where the
words "Patient Centred" were so desperately in demand. Russell Reid's
version of being patient centred brought about this case, but it was
the lack of care elsewhere that brought the patients to his door."

These comments may of course be quoted elsewhere so long as they are
fully intact or any edits are explicitly agreed with me.

Christine Burns

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