Transsexual loses NHS breast enlargement bid

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A transsexual today lost her High Court battle over an NHS refusal to fund a breast enlargement operation.



Gender dysphoria sufferer "C", who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been living as a woman for more than a decade.



The 58-year-old, who lives in the Reading area, was described as having been left in physical and psychological "limbo" after her bust failed to develop sufficiently following hormonal treatment.



Lawyers acting for C, who was legally aided, challenged the refusal of West Berkshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) to fund her breast augmentation surgery at a cost of some £2,300.



They argued during a recent three-day hearing that the refusal violated her human rights and amounted to sex discrimination.



But today Mr Justice Bean, sitting in London, dismissed her claim for judicial review.



The judge said he had found "that there was no duty in either public law or discrimination law to classify all treatment and procedures sought by transsexuals as high priority or core procedures".







Mr Justice Bean said: "In my judgment the claimant has not made out any of the grounds of challenge to the defendant's decisions to refuse funding for her breast surgery. The claim for judicial review is dismissed."

He refused leave to appeal.



During the hearing of the case, Stephanie Harrison QC, appearing for C, said she should not be compared with a woman unhappy with her body image and wanting an operation "for cosmetic reasons".



She was suffering from gender identity disorder (GID), a recognised medical condition, and experiencing real distress as "a woman living in a man's body".



There was medical evidence that, without effective treatment, her condition would deteriorate, with the risk of self-harm and depression.



The PCT argued that breast surgery was not an essential part of GID treatment and there was no good evidence that it would be cost- effective or improve C's health.



In a statement C told of how she had faced problems of hostility and abuse in public.



She was initially refused funding by the PCT four years ago, but appealed over that decision to the Case Review Committee after it emerged that her GP had made an error in measuring her chest size.



The Committee ruled there was no compelling health reason for the procedure which, it said, was "purely for cosmetic reasons".



After further reviews the PCT ultimately concluded there were no "exceptional circumstances" to justify funding.

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