In December 2021 the Women and Equalities Committee in the UK published its report on the Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
The committee’s report into reform, designed to improve the lives of transgender and gender diverse people in the UK, is damning of the conservative governments’ delay and lack of cooperation – the government is yet to push forward with any sort of meaningful reform.
Included in the report are several findings and recommendations about gender affirming healthcare. We wrote to Caroline Nokes, the committee chair, inviting her and the committee to discuss the solutions that GenderGP, as a leading expert, believes will help achieve much needed improvements in gender affirming healthcare.
As an organisation GenderGP advocates on behalf of our patients and clients on important matters that directly and indirectly affect them, as such we will continue to engage, along with other organisations lobbying for change, with the WEC on this issue.
We will continue to update our audiences as and when we’re aware of any developments.
Dear Caroline Nokes
I’m writing to you as the Current Affairs and Engagement Lead of GenderGP, an organisation that provides gender affirming health and wellbeing services to trans and gender diverse people globally, and a group of fierce allies and advocates of the individuals we serve.
As a provider of healthcare and support to thousands of transgender and gender diverse patients in the UK we are encouraged to see the Women and Equalities Committee publish it’s Reform of the Gender Recognition Act report and reafirm it’s support for reform.
Given the committee’s findings and recommendations, especially those focusing on the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse people, we would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss with you details of our extensive experience in providing gender affirming healthcare and outline what it is we feel are the necessary improvements needed in UK transgender healthcare provision.
In the meantime please find below a little more information about our experience and how it’s relevant to the committee’s recommendations and findings:
Since 2015 GenderGP has been providing gender affirming healthcare to thousands of patients and clients. During the time that NHS Gender Identity Clinics waiting lists have grown larger and longer we have developed an informed consent based model of care that puts the patient/client at the centre of their own healthcare and wellbeing needs. We have invested significantly in systems and teams that ensure that patients/clients are not left languishing on year long waiting lists or subjected to delay or lack of communication.
Whilst we don’t necessarily agree that the solution to the current NHS waiting lists is to open more GICs, we favour a more primary care focused approach, we do share the committees concern about the Department of Health’s and the NHS England’s lack of clarity about plans to shorten the current waiting lists and agree that increased funding is needed to help tackle this issue.
Our vision is for all trans and gender diverse people who want any form of gender affirming healthcare to be able to access it without delay or financial constraints, however we recognise that the lack of clinicians can be a major barrier to this. As such we strongly agree with the committee that there is an urgent need for more clinicians working with this patient group. Without this call to action any services set up to improve access to transgender healthcare run the risk creating additional lists of patients waiting unacceptable periods of time to access the healthcare and services they need.
As an organisation we are trusted by thousands, including hundreds of young people and their families, to provide timely GAH and support. Our expertise in providing GAH to young people, and the testimony we receive from them and their families, demonstrates why we are a leading expert in this area of healthcare. It’s with this experience and authority that we strongly agree with the committee that improved support is very much needed.
We would like to congratulate the committee on raising these matters and for highlighting it’s evidence based recommendations and findings. We hope that you accept our offer to discuss the solutions that we believe will help achieve much needed improvements in gender affirming healthcare.
We welcome your reply.
Adi Daly-Gourdialsing (she/her/hers) – Current Affairs and Engagement Lead –GenderGP
If you are affected by anything in this update and would like to contribute to the discussion, you can contact us via our help centre.
If you are affected by the issues discussed in this update and would like to talk to someone you can do so by speaking to one of our wellbeing team.
Author: Adi Daly-Gourdialsing (she/her/hers)
Adi is our Current Affairs and Engagement Lead, and is responsible for monitoring the landscape and ensuring GenderGP is connected to what’s going on in the community. Adi’s background is in organisational development, user services, and community building. She is particularly interested in finding solutions to the challenges faced by trans and gender diverse communities when accessing timely and supportive healthcare. Adi is a peer mentor for a London charity, is involved in grass-roots LGBTIQA+ athletics advocacy, and lobbies for the right to cleaner air for all.
Adi has climbed the same volcano multiple times but never quite been brave enough to look over into the fiery pit of lava.