To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what information his Department holds on (a) the current waiting time following referral for a first appointment at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), (b) how many people are currently receiving treatment at that clinic and how long the average wait is between appointments; what assessment his Department has made of how many patients Charing Cross GIC can treat in a year according to best practice guidelines and within existing resources; what discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of NHS England on the steps necessary to increase provision of services for trans people; and if he will make a statement.
21 July 2014
We are advised by NHS England that there are currently seven gender identity clinics (GICs) in England and three providers of gender reassignment surgery. The nearest GIC to Brighton and Hove is located in London. These GIC clinics have considerable experience of delivering this highly specialised service and are able to accept referrals from all over the United Kingdom. At present there are no plans to undertake a procurement exercise to increase the number of providers.
NHS England report that waiting times for pre-surgical assessment at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust one of the three NHS England commissioned providers of gender surgery are currently running at around 12 months, compared to 10 months in 2013-14. The increase in waiting times is due to the increase in demand for the service nationally that has seen referrals increase from 195 in 2011-12 to 300 in 2013-14.
Individual patient waits vary according to the needs of the patient. Currently, the average wait for surgery is just under a year from the point at which funding is confirmed.
Information from the website of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust shows that there are currently 279 patients approved for this surgery and that it carried out 178 male to female gender reassignment operations in 2013-14.
Following a change in staffing, Imperial appointed a new gender reassignment surgeon who will start performing gender reassignment surgeries in September 2014. As a temporary measure, the trust is referring a small number of patients who have waited longer than others to a private provider under a sub-contracting arrangement with that provider, Imperial retain responsibility for managing all patient pathways.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has published an update of the position on its website, which can be viewed at the following link:
The trust is also sending this information directly to patients.
These issues have not been the subject of discussions between Ministers and the Chief Executive of NHS England.