Trans Health Matters!

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2015 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2015

Conference notes with serious concern the recent report of waiting times for National Health Service (NHS) gender treatment could reach twelve years in some parts of the United Kingdom (UK) unless urgent action is taken.

For example, a recent Freedom of Information request by UK Trans Info revealed that by the end of April 2015 there were 269 patients on the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service in Newcastle. However between April 2014 and March 2015 only 48 new patients had been seen, meaning it could take over five years to clear the backlog.

The figures just take into account those already on the waiting list, not new referrals, and with an average of 18 new referrals per month by March 2017, patients could be waiting up to 12 years to be seen. This at a time when NHS England claims that all patients accessing gender services should be seen within eighteen weeks. Conference welcomes the work that went into developing the NHS Scotland Gender Reassignment Protocol and the Interim NHS England Gender Dysphoria Protocol, which is largely based on the Scottish Protocol, and calls for their implementation to be reviewed.

Across the UK there are now 2744 patients on waiting lists and this number is growing. Added to ever increasing waiting lists, there are issues with General Practioners’ knowledge, attitudes and training, for example around endocrinology. Conference is concerned that the Tory government’s austerity agenda will worsen a post code lottery for treatment and care in a system that is at breaking point.

Conference welcomes the updated publication ‘Influencing Our NHS: a short UNISON guide’, which signposts members to where they can get involved in NHS structures as patients’ representatives, including clinical commissioning groups, foundation trusts, health and well-being boards and HealthWatch.

Conference therefore calls on the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) committee to work with regional and branch LGBT groups and our trans caucus to:

1. Work with the national executive council, health service group, Trades Union Congress, LGBT Labour and other appropriate organisations to continue to campaign for a properly funded health services for trans and gender non-binary people;

2. Promote UNISON’s guide ‘Influencing Our NHS’ and encourage members to get involved with NHS organisations to raise the issue of trans health services;

3. Seek opportunities to update the NatCen research commissioned by UNISON into the impact of austerity on LGBT people and services under the previous government, in light of the general election result.