Write to your MP and implore them to support improvements in transgender care. Following the launch of our campaign letter to demand improvements in transgender healthcare services in the UK, we are prompting as many people as possible to also write to their MP demanding the same.
We have included a personal version of our campaign letter below, which you can copy and paste in any correspondence. Don’t forget to personalise it to fit your own experiences).
Write to Your MP: Template Letter
Gender diverse patients, waiting up to four years for a first appointment, are suffering unnecessarily. Clarity is urgently needed on interim healthcare options.
The Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into the provision of LGBT healthcare has now closed (05.10.18). We focus on the future healthcare providers to gender diverse patients in the UK.
The time for transgender voices to be heard is now. We’re encouraging as many people are possible to “Write to Your MP”. We ask them to “Write to Your MP”, as this matter effects many.
It’s time for trans health to be given the same level of importance as every other person in Britain.
The 2016 Women and Equalities Report found that the NHS is letting down trans people, with too much evidence of an approach that can be said to be discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act”. Yet, since then, little appears to have changed.
Gender dysphoria, if dismissed and ignored, is life-threatening across all age groups, and yet patients can wait up to four years for a first appointment. By comparison, patients with diabetes wait 18 weeks to see a specialist. To that end, I am calling for better transition healthcare for this marginalised group of people.
Despite the World Health Organisation thankfully declassifying their diagnostic category of Gender Incongruence as a mental illness in 2018, there is something about gender diversity which makes some people very afraid.
Mention children and the levels of hysteria rise further, as borne out by regular tabloid headlines denying and ridiculing those not comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Yet, research recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reveals that when children are allowed to transition, including the use of puberty blockers, it improves their mental health.
Furthermore the American Academy of Pediatrics, which with 64,000 professional members is the most respected paediatric organisation in the world, recommends taking a” “gender-affirming” non-judgemental approach so that:” “children feel safe in a society that too often marginalised and stigmatises those seen as different”
As you well know, our response to gender-variant patients here in the UK is to put them on a waiting list for highly specialised NHS service provision. The technical service clinics are massively overwhelmed. As a result, young people wait 18 months just for an initial appointment, and adults wait up to four years. It is only then, that the path to treatment begins and it is a path that can take anything up to 24 months.
There are many trans patients told that care will cease. The care ends if they seek interim private options. All of this while they wait for NHS services. No other branch of medicine would operate in this way.
Furthermore, there is often little support. Many GPs and local hospitals hide behind a shocking lack of knowledge and skills. Instead huge numbers of patients are left to flounder. For some, this proves too much and they resort to accessing medication on the black market without a prescription, to bridge the gap while they wait for safe care. For others, it is worse and common outcomes are self harm and suicide.
The recently published NHS England Service Specifications supports an approach emulating best practice in parts of Canada and the US. Here, a primary care-based model operating according to the informed consent principle, is closer to the ‘‘norm”.
However, while the developments are certainly heading in the right direction, patients are unlikely to see the benefits until 2021/22. Furthermore, the service specifications do not give any recommendations on bridging services for patients while they wait for treatment, nor do they advise GPs on how they might support their patients, while they wait to be seen. The guidance does refer to the fact that patients might be self-medicating, but offers no advice for the safe transfer to prescribed medication.
These patients need access to the right interim support and medication via a channel to be monitored and cared for. Healthcare professionals of all grades also need emergency education to enable them to offer help at all levels.
Patients are suffering and a workable solution must be found.
We are asking citizens to “Write to Your MP” for:
- NHS waiting times for gender diverse patients of all ages to be urgently reviewed.
- Clear options on interim solutions to be made available to people while waiting for their NHS appointment.
- Assessment and treatment pathways modernisation.
- Alternate healthcare solutions recognition.
- Information on how best to support gender-variant patients. in a primary care setting. With Information to be cascaded to those working in primary and secondary care.
- Clear guidelines so that GPs feel empowered to offer support. Including bridging prescriptions and shared care agreements, where requested.
- Private care to available without retribution. Furthermore, without consequences to the patient.
On behalf of the many transgender people currently being let down by NHS healthcare services, I request a response to the above issues outlining how they will be tackled, and by when.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss issues with transgender healthcare in person. We want to talk about other obstacles that the transgender community face.