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NHS in Gloucestershire welcomes Healthwatch Gloucestershire report on Access to Health and Support Services by the Trans Community and their Families

13 March 2017

The NHS in Gloucestershire has welcomed Healthwatch Gloucestershire’s report published today, on access to health and support services by the trans community and their families.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire (HWG) actively seeks to gather the views and experiences of transgender or non-binary people and their families across the county, to fulfil its function in enabling all people living in Gloucestershire to have a voice in the way that health and social care services are planned and delivered. Feedback collected by HWG suggested that the following issues were of particular concern to transgender or non-binary people in Gloucestershire:

  • The impact of staff awareness of gender identity issues and attitudes towards transgender patients, particularly at GP surgeries
  • The distress that can be caused by patients being misgendered
  • Changing identity, and changing an NHS number
  • Long waits for the first appointment at Gender Identity Clinics (GICs) following referral by a GP
  • A lack of support between referral and being seen at a GIC, and its consequences
  • The impact of having to travel long distances to GICs
  • The need for support for partners and families

To learn more about these issues and find out more about people’s experiences, HWG invited a group of transgender and non-binary people (including young people under 25 as well as older adults), their partners and other family members through their local support organisation Gloscats, to an informal round-table discussion in October 2016.

HWG’s report includes a number of personal stories shared by people at this round-table discussion, and makes five recommendations:

  • Giving GPs simple accessible information, which could bring about positive change
  • Clarification on the Gloucestershire policies regarding changes to genetic markers and NHS numbers
  • Recognition of the need for support between referral to a GIC and first appointment and the provision of this support
  • Introduction of a pathway to enable local access to mental health appointments once a person has had their first appointment at a GIC
  • Recognition of the need for information and psychological support for partners and families, and provision of appropriate support

Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG) said

“We are pleased to confirm that work has already begun to provide a full range of information regarding gender dysphoria on G-Care, the CCG’s online resource for GPs in Gloucestershire. In addition to providing details of clinical pathways, G-Care will also link to support services including those local groups listed in your report. Information regarding changes to genetic markers and NHS numbers will also be detailed on G-Care…  specialist services relating to gender dysphoria are commissioned by NHS England. We can confirm that local access to mental health services is available for all. 

"Therefore, if someone who is undergoing treatment at a Gender Identity Clinic develops a mental health problem, they have the same access rights as anyone else, as do their family. Your report suggests that this has been an issue for some patients and this is something we will discuss further with colleagues at 2gether NHS Foundation Trust”.