Blanket ban on treating transsexuals is ruled ‘unlawful’
Clare Dyer legal correspondent, BMJ
An English health authority acted unlawfully in refusing to pay for sex change operations for three transsexuals on the grounds that they had “no overriding clinical need,” the Court of Appeal in London decided last week. The ruling is a warning to NHS managers that anything that amounts to a blanket ban on a treatment for a medically recognised condition is likely to fall foul of the courts.
The ruling will not entitle any transsexual to an operation on the NHS. But health authorities will now be unable to rule out funding such operations entirely. The appeal court upheld a High Court ruling last December that North West Lancashire authority acted unlawfully in refusing to pay for gender re-assignment surgery for three male transsexuals wanting to become female (named only as A, aged 22, and D and G, both aged 51), who had been living as women and undergoing hormone