Developments in the NHS

Posted: September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
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So before you read any further, please click here and read this blog post.

It’s by Will Huxter, and it purports to be a step in improving communication and services of the gender clinics in the NHS (National Health Service, for the non-Brits among us).

For those who don’t know, transitioning in the UK on the NHS goes the same way whether you are MtF, FtM, or non-binary: you ask your doctor (GP) to refer you to a gender identity clinic for treatment. In some places, you are first referred to a mental health teams (known as CAMHS), before being referred on to the gender clinic. One at the GIC, you undergo a number of psychiatrist appointments before discussing treatment and then, if you’re lucky, starting on those treatments. Usually in the exact order that the NHS prefer.

If you read down the comments on that blog post, there are a lot of problems with the NHS system. I’ve heard of people who have literally taken a decade to transition. Common complaints about GICs, both directly to them and quietly amongst transgender circles, include dismissive behaviour, rudeness, punitive language and measures against patients, inexplicable obstacles put in the way of transitioning, lack of communication with the patient, lack of communication with each other, and so on and so forth.

And these problems are being placed on a group of people with a ridiculously high rate of self-harm and suicide, and a disproportionate tendency to be victims of violent crimes and sexual assaults.

The impression that the entire state of play gives it this: it’s okay, they’re only transgender.

No, I’m serious. If I could list that about a single hospital, there’d have been a Sun pun and special measures by now. Would it have done anything — well, likely not, given that there’s no teeth behind these inspections nine times out of ten. But it would have happened. Hospital and care home scandals have been all over the news in the last five years, as we get steadily more disgusted and fed up with appalling hospital treatment.

But this? This isn’t known about. If you’re not transgender, or a close loved one to a transgender person, you won’t have heard of this. It’s only now being raised, because people finally mobilised and started petitioning the government about other transgender issues.

And the problem is, it’s been raised before. Problems with dismissive GPs, disinterested mental health services, and long waiting times were raised years ago, and nothing was done.

So honestly, I’m a sceptic. I’m sure Mr. Huxter has his heart in the right place, but I’m also sure he won’t change anything. There needs to be real effort and power behind changing the sorry state of play in the NHS gender transition system, and there isn’t. The powers that be just don’t care enough, and neither do the wider population.

But this attitude is what gender transitioning in the UK can do to you, folks. So beware.

 

 

 

(Apologies for the grumpiness, I’ll try and blog something a bit more cheerful next time!)

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