What do HIW do?

‘We regulate and inspect NHS services and independent healthcare providers in Wales against a range of standards, policies, guidance and regulations to highlight areas requiring improvement.’

Our purpose

‘To check that people in Wales receive good quality healthcare.’

I totally understand that regulation is important and in many cases vital to ensure safe standards for our community. However, every GP surgery in the UK is regulated. Every hospital is regulated. Every clinic is regulated. Every CAMHS service is regulate. And I have heard some shocking stories.

GPs who refuse to refer their patients to specialist services, telling them that this condition is not real, that they will grown out of it, that they shouldn’t wasted NHS resources on it. GPs who refuse to carry out blood tests or to issue bridging prescriptions for those who are buying illegal medication off the Internet out of sheer desperation. I hear of patients who have finally been through the GIC process and receiving recommendations for treatment, being refused this by their GP. The specialist says the GP should prescribe X Y and Z and do the blood tests A B and C. But the GP refuses.

For those who are referred to the specialist gender clinics, the waiting times seem to far exceed what any regulator would deem safe or of an acceptable standard. And I have heard stories of people who are refused treatment because of the outfit they wore to clinic, or because of the name they use in their professional life. If you are called Simon, you can’t be a woman? I hear children who wait over a year to be seen and then when a parent can’t take the to one of their appointments, they are discharged from the list, no comment, no argument, no discussion.

Patients wading through Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS), tell me of the lack of knowledge and understanding that they face. Patients plead for medication to prevent puberty, but instead children are prescribed antidepressants and antipsychotics.


Transgender people have committed suicide due to the waiting lists, protocols and discrimination that they face at the hands of those who are regulated by the HIW. But this doesn’t end in court. This doesn’t result in a fine and a criminal conviction.


I tried to register, but HIW erected barriers that made it impossible. I asked to meet, but they refused. Daily we are told that we save lives, that we have changed lives and made them liveable again. Daily we are thanked and congratulated for the work we do. Yet we have carried on without registration. Those who carry on their work while registered and who are told that they are harming patients, causing stress, depression, harm – they escape under the radar. Letters of complaint from patients go unheeded. Cries of anguish from parents and children go unheard.

The Women and Equalities commission found that the ‘NHS is failing transgender people’, but at least the GP surgeries and hospitals are registered to do so…


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Dr Helen Webberley is the founder of GenderGP. A passionate advocate for the transgender community, she continues to campaign for real change in the way that trans people are treated in society and particularly in relation to the barriers they face when accessing healthcare. Dr Webberley believes in gender-affirmative care and that the individual is the expert in their own gender identity.