Steph's Place

9th August: Improving the Integration of Care for Trans Adults

The project that aims to improve NHS health care for trans folk (including non-binary).

Thanks to Twitter (my handle is @PlaceSteph) I saw a request for trans folk to give their views & experiences on NHS trans care in the UK.

The project partners are The Open University, NHS (Leeds & York), NHS (Northamptonshire Healthcare), LGBT Foundation and Yorkshire MESMAC. 

The aim of the project (and I am quoting directly from their website) is:-

This National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded study aims to improve health care for trans adults in the NHS. Specifically, the project will provide information on how to develop effective models for the health services needed to support trans adults before, during and after they are seen by NHS-commissioned specialist gender identity services. The focus is on the effective integration of care – or how to make health care more ‘joined-up’.

The research team consists of a unique collaboration of health services researchers, research psychologists and specialists in sexuality, gender and health with specialist clinical providers and third sector organisations. The project will involve an active role for a group of trans service users as well as third sector organisations that work with various trans communities. 

Their text continues:

The overall research objective is to produce guidance material and on-line educational materials for trans people who use services, as well as commissioners and staff in specialist and generalist services so that they can better understand and shape cost-efficient and integrated provision. The project will develop high-quality guidance and online educational materials for disseminating the learning and engaging with service users, professionals and commissioners to bring about more effective models and practices in care. It will produce a novel typology of integrated service arrangements relevant to trans adults and indicate how existing integration initiatives can be improved. The research will also indicate where there may be a benefit in exploring further types of service innovation.

Now anything to do with trans health care, and I am there.

I had an awful experience with my NHS Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), losing my paperwork and feeling ignored. In the end, I lost my patience and went private as do about 75% of trans folk one way or another - more about this in a later blog. 

Reading Mia Violet's book "Yes, You Are Trans Enough" I know for sure Mia had real issues too where she moved from one end of the country to the other but found that it was not possible to even transfer to a GIC closer to her new home. 

More recently I was talking to an NHS GP who represents all GP's within an area (for various reasons I can not say what area) and he explained he got a letter from GIC demanding details of a patient by a set date and in a set format and that if they did not get the information by the set date, the patient would immediately be put to the back of the queue. He was livid with their demands and snatched a piece of headed paper from his desk drawer, and hand wrote them a note saying exactly what he thought of their "care" -  obviously including the patient info as required. 

That patient may have been down a queue for two years - the GIC was indeed Charring Cross who have nearly a three-year waiting time for a first appraisal. If the GP has missed the deadline that patient could have been waiting for almost five years - and then people wonder why so many trans folks self-harm and commit suicide!

Moving back to the survey, it takes about ten minutes, and the questions are comprehensive and compiled by experts.

NHS trans health care is massively underfunded, with not enough GIC centres which it would appear all work independently of each other. I believe a GIC should be reasonably close to every trans person. In time gender will likely become much more fluid and we are seeing this trend by the fact that young folk, our generation Z, have very different views to gender than the pensioners. The NHS needs to cotton on this now and more GP's need to be trained up as well. If they don't, I fear self-harm and suicides will continue to increase. 

If you are trans or non-binary, please help out. The link is below.  


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