A new Freedom of Information request (FOI) has suggested that, despite year on year funding increases since 2017, Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust are scheduling fewer appointments for patients at their London Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).
In 2020-2021 funding for the clinic increased by 25% – from £4,750,976 in 2019-2020 to £5,922,839. This equates to an extra £1,171,863.
While increased funding is to be welcomed, this does not appear to have translated into an increase in patients being seen: just 1,182 patients received appointments in 2020-2021.
These numbers represent less than half of those seen in 2017-2018 – a total of 2,675 – with a budget of only £3,977,939 (-33%).
The reply from the GIC also detailed that in the four years between 2017 and 2021 only four extra clinical staff had been employed, despite:
- the waiting list for first phase appointments more than doubling (rising from 3274 in 2017-2018 to 8745 in 2020-2021)
- a total of 12,973 referrals to the service
- just 4,283 patients receiving their first and/or second appointments during that time
The FOI would suggest one of two things, either the GIC doesn’t consider employing extra clinical staff as a solution to reducing the years-long waiting times, or that they are experiencing difficulty recruiting clinicians that are appropriately qualified and willing to join the service.