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Department of Health

Website of the Department of Health

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Records Management: NHS Code of Practice Part 1 and Part 2

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The Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Act gives transsexual people the legal right to live in their acquired gender. It established the Gender Recognition Panel, who have the authority to issue a Gender Recognition Certificate. Issue of a full certificate provides legal recognition of the transsexual person's acquired gender.

Under the Act, information relating to an application for a Gender Recognition Certificate is 'protected information' if it is acquired in a professional capacity. It is an offence to disclose protected information to any other person unless an exemption applies. Some of the exemptions are:

  • the person has consented;
  • the person cannot be identified from the information;
  • information is needed for prevention and investigation of crime;
  • information is needed to comply with a court order.

Further information is available from the Department of Constitutional Affairs at:
http://www.dca.gov.uk/constitution/transsex/index.htm

Records management considerations

Applicants to the Gender Recognition Panel are required to supply evidence from a medical practitioner in support of their application. As 'protected information' covers all information that would identify a person as being a transsexual, if successful in their application a new health record must be created so that protected information is not disclosed.

The Gender Recognition (Disclosure of Information) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Order 2005

It is not an offence to disclose the 'protected information' referred to under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 if:

  • the disclosure is made for medical purposes to a health professional; and
  • the person making the disclosure reasonably believes that the subject has given consent to the disclosure or cannot give such consent.

'Medical purposes' includes the purposes of preventative medicine, medical diagnosis and the provision of care and treatment.

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