A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that almost 9,000 patients are currently waiting to receive a first appointment at London’s Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust Gender Identity Clinic.
The reply from the GIC, also detailed that in 2020-2021 just 463 patients received a first phase appointment, a number which represents just a third of those seen in 2017-2018 (1,488).
Numbers have fallen consistently since then with 1,122 patients seen in 2018-19, this was slightly higher in 2019-20, with 1,210 individuals being seen but has fallen to an all time low this past year, no doubt as a result of delays being attributed to the covid pandemic.
Whether these numbers confirm appointments attended or simply appointments offered is unclear, however they do give an indication of waiting times stretching into several years. Unfortunately, the trust does not officially detail waiting times on its website, preferring instead to list referral numbers received and unattended appointments.
Furthermore, the information does not include the time that it takes for a patient to be referred to a GIC by their GP, which can be especially difficult if a GP refuses to do so or delays for any reason. In an attempt to improve the situation, the General Medical Council (GMC) has recently launched its new guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) patients, detailing what patients can expect from their doctors.
It is also worth noting that anyone facing difficulties in getting a referral from their GP, may be able to self-refer.