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22Mar

Like a huge and unwieldy behemoth, the NHS is finally trying to get its act together and negotiate its way around the plight of transgender patients. However, services are already stretched to the limit, with waiting lists getting longer and demand higher. A recent spate of media coverage and of course Eddie Redmayne’s superlative performance in ‘The Danish girl’ has brought transgender issues back into the limelight.

 

Recent reports have suggested that health care for transgender people in the UK is lacking

Recent reports have suggested that health care for transgender people in the UK is lacking

The recent BBC report highlights some of the problems with transgender patients currently having to wait over 18 months for new appointments in gender clinics (GICs), with 8 clinics receiving over 4500 new referrals a year and demand increasing by 25 – 30% annually. The current wait for surgical reassignment is now over 3 and a half years, no wonder many transgender patients are seeking help both privately and abroad.

 
The Transgender Equality Report, first circulated early this year and commissioned by The House of commons Women and Quality committee, found that ‘the NHS is letting down trans people, with too much evidence of an approach that can be said to be discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act’’ and also ‘that trans people encounter significant problems in using general NHS services due to the attitude of some clinicians and other staff when providing care for trans patients’.

 
It summarised that most GPs are inadequately trained, that the NHS is failing in its legal duty and also that children and adolescents who are pre or peri pubertal are particularly vulnerable to the lack of duty of care from the NHS, with some of them going to huge expense in travelling to USA in order to get their puberty- blockers and opposite-sex hormones.

 
Probably the most telling quote in the BBC report came from Jenny Bishop from the Manchester-based transforum health group, who said that the GICs were all well and good for those patients who are struggling with their identity, but for the average person who knows exactly what their identity is ‘we just need a doctor with specialist knowledge’ so that ‘the person could be referred for treatment and just get on with their lives’.

 
Advice on how to broach this subject with your GP can be gained from Dr Webberley here: www.gendergp.co.uk

  

Dr Helen Webberley

Dr Helen Webberley is an NHS GP with a practice in South Wales, and an experienced online doctor providing healthcare advice and treatment via the Internet. She is a talkhealth expert in the Online Clinics. If anyone has any queries about their health then feel free to contact her.

3 Responses to Transgender Health

  1. Sasha Cohen

    This is a great blog post. I have been struggling with personal issues for 10 years and have found reaching out online to seek the advice of others has helped me through the good and bad time. I have always had relationship issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current psychological issues. I have been following her twitter for updates and advice.

    • Hi Maggie, I think so much of the dysphoria that people feel is down to the medical profession letting people down. Once people receive correct and timely care, things become so much easier. I am glad Exeter have come up to the mark for you. The forums can be invaluable, and GIRES and other trans charities are an excellent source of support and information. Good luck to your daughter with the surgery, Dr Webberley

  2. Maggie

    I have a transgender daughter, she was born a boy 28 years ago and came out officially 2 years ago, living since then as a woman. She will have her gender surgery next month. When first seeking help, she had a very difficult time with ignorant GP and psychologist, who seemed to know nothing -could not fathom that my daughter was both transgender and gay. Finally got a referral to Charing cross GIC, but they would not offer an initial appointment that year- such a shambles! She went to see a private doc in London, and it was a life saver, getting accepted as transgender. I did some research – and she got her referral moved to Exeter GIC. I can’t fault them, they have been really terrific.
    When she came out 2 years ago it was very hard for her to get help – just when she felt lost and depressed. Luckily our our family fought for her, others have to struggle alone.
    She found support on LGBT forums and meet up groups, and I found GIRES (website) helpful.

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