People Could Face 4 Year Waits For Gender Reassignment Appointment

The number of people seeking gender identity treatment has risen. But will our health services be able to cope with the uptake?

People Could Face 4 Year Waits For Gender Reassignment Appointment

by Jess Commons |
Published on

According to new figures obtained by the Guardian, the number of people seeking gender identity treatment has increased dramatically over the past few years.

In turn, some patients are facing lengthy waits to even get their first appointment post GP-referral.

The data, which comes from all of the UK's 14 gender identity clinics, show an uptake of, in some cases, well over a thousand new cases a year.

A clinic in Charing Cross has seen it's referrals quadruple in ten years (498 in 2006-7 to 1892 in 2015-2016) whilst Nottingham's clinic recieved 850 referrals compared to 30 in 2008. Other clinics reported similar numbers.

However, with this uptake comes the problem of how long it could take patients to be seen. In Leeds, the Gender Identity Clinic reckoned that a patient referred to the clinic last October would be waiting four years before they were able to secure a consultation with a medical specialist - a dangerous amount of time to wait for someone feeling desperate.

'You're referred from your GP, there is no contact with any specialists of clinicians until your first appointment at the gender identity clinic,' Louie Stafford, a patient and trans programme coordinator for the LGBT Foundation to the newspaper who waited two years for his first appointment. 'People are completely on their own, sometimes for up to three years, dealing with issues around gender that are potentially life-threatening.' He continued, warning of the trangic consequences that could arise from longer waiting times.

Last year, the NHS put £4.4 million additional funding towards England's gender identity services and is set to increase that this year.

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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