Your rights as an LGB or T patient

Knowing what you can expect of your health service allows you to get the best out of your experience.

It is now against the law for a service to discriminate against you because you are LGB or T. Although there are some minor exceptions within the law itself these should not prejudice the level of service you can expect from NHS Scotland.

This page will give you some of the extra information needed to answer some of the more common questions around services asked by LGB and T people.

Why am I not allowed to visit my partner or be involved
in their treatment?

You have the same rights as any other couple to visit your partner and be involved in their treatment. All people using NHS services should be able to expect input and support from their nearest relative, whoever they may state that to be. Not only is it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or because someone is transsexual, it is well known that people who are supported by their partners or relatives recover quicker. There are legal definitions of nearest relative in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003 that include same sex couples and this is the type of definition that NHS staff should use if there is any doubt.

As a trans person I'm worried that my identity will not be respected.

Health staff should always respect your own identity. Even if your family or other visitors use different pronouns, for example, ‘she’ instead of ‘he’, NHS staff should respect your self identity. Your gender should determine how they interact with you and not the behaviour of other people around you.

If you are admitted unconscious and staff cannot find any ID or other information and are unsure of your gender identity they should not place you in a gender specific ward until your gender can be ascertained.

You should be placed on a ward which matches your gender identity whilst in hospital. There may be certain instances where it may be more appropriate for you to be in a private room within a ward that matches your own gender identity. Staff should discuss this with you and make sure you are comfortable with the reasons for this decision. You have the right not to be harassed by other patients or staff whilst in hospital.

If you have a Gender Recognition Certificate it is illegal for a staff member who gains knowledge of your birth gender to pass on that knowledge unless it is directly relevant to your healthcare. Even if you do not have a Gender Recognition Certificate, your right to  confidentiality within the NHS means staff should never pass this information on without sound medical reasons.

I am a parent why am I kept out of decisions concerning my child?

You have the same rights to be involved in decisions concerning your children as other parents. There are legal protections for these rights for LGB and T parents. The Gender Recognition Act has specific protections for trans parents as does the Family Law (Scotland) Act for LGB cohabiting couples and parents. It is important that your
family unit is not undermined by NHS staff.


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If you cannot find the information you need on this website, you can call our info line on 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm) and we will try to point you in the right direction.