If you live in the South West of England and are waiting for an appointment at The Laurels or wish to complain to your MP in general about trans/GNC healthcare, we have put together a draft letter for you which can then be simply emailed to them via the "Write To Them" website - a link is below.
A few details need to be completed, such as your name and date you were referred to The Laurels, but that is pretty much it - easy! Trans allies can also adapt the letter to make complaints too.
I am a transgender/gender non confirming constituent. I am writing to you because I wish to make you aware of the abysmal healthcare I (and other people in my community) currently suffer in the South West of England - which without a doubt is the worst in the UK.
I was first referred to the Laurels Gender Identity Clinic (Exeter) on.................
I wish to make you aware that recently the Intercom Trust completed a survey for NHS England entitled 'Gender Identity Healthcare in the South West - Survey Report.' The survey, which involved 645 respondents, is online and can be found via Google search or by clicking HERE:
The anonymous survey was taken throughout March 2021 and published on May 21st 2021. The survey paints a grim picture, and I would like to make you aware of some of the quotes in the report.
- My GP had no idea what "gender dysphoria" was…It's quite a well-discussed topic these days, so the fact they had to google it in front of me wasn't reassuring at all.”
- “She refused to look at me and asked me to leave her office; I had to get two new GPs until one was "comfortable" enough to refer me on."
- "If GPs offered bridging prescriptions of hormones for patients on waiting lists, it would make the agonising and inhuman waiting times infinitely more bearable.”
- "GP prescribing hormones and bloods monitoring would greatly reduce the agony of waiting for GIC. Done in unison with GIC, GPs should be perfectly capable of this and to refuse such help is frankly transphobic. I’m fortunate in that my GP is wholly supportive, but many are not"
- "I am so grateful to the NHS and glad I was able to transition. However, my transition took 9 years overall, and that was before the waiting times were as dire as they are now, and before Tavistock v Bell made accessing trans healthcare as a teen untenable. Some practitioners (even specialists) were very binarist and transphobic. I owe my life to the NHS and GIC, but I am very lucky to have received the treatment that I did, but some of it was unnecessarily difficult or traumatic, and there is a lot of room for improvement."
- "I have been waiting for nearly 3 years for a first appointment. In this time, I have had several suicide attempts and mental health crises. I now access private healthcare for HRT even though I live in poverty and struggle to pay."
- “It has been absolutely terrible. I have not received any support from anyone. The gender clinic in Exeter is useless; they never provide any information which adds to the mental health turmoil. I will expect to wait another 3-4 years for my first appointment, and in the meantime, my life has fallen apart, and I suffer from bad depression due to the waiting lists. If I was seen within the 18-week target, I would never have gone through such depression."
- “For the love of God, reduce waiting times somehow. or allow informed consent for HRT with a GP."
- Suicidal thoughts and self-harm PRIOR to treatment were common; since then, no issues.
- “Please increase the number of GICs to reduce wait times and the distance needed to be travelled by vulnerable young people who may not have parents who support them to travel even after they are 16. Everyone should be able to visit a GIC within an hours public transport from home.”
- I was referred to GIDS when I was 15; I only ever received one letter to say I was on the waiting list and would wait 14 months. Two years later, I was called to say I was now too old and would be moved to adult services. This means that now three years after my referral, I still have not been seen by a professional or had any support at all."
- “I have been waiting for gender specialist services for over 4 years, just for an appointment with GIC, simply unacceptable. I have had to move back into a toxic home environment, just so I can afford to have a session with a private gender therapist, which has helped massively.”
Many trans and gender non confirming (GNC) people could have their healthcare sorted by GP's, but the survey reflects the fact that many GP's fail to follow GMC guidance concerning trans/GNC people.
I would further advise that in January of this year, NHS England launched three new pilot projects, one of which covers the Greater Manchester area.
It is called "Indigo", and patients in a similar position to my own are being treated in weeks and months.
Obviously, I am delighted for them, but this pilot urgently needs to be extended to centres in the South West too, and I am writing in the hope you can make representations to NHS England on my behalf to this effect.
WRITE TO THEM LINK: https://www.writetothem.com/
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