Waiting times for help from NHS gender identity clinics have reached more than two years amid record demand figures show.
More than 5,700 people are waiting for a first appointment at Britain’s main centre, Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust, which is an all-time high. Less than a year ago, its average waiting time was just over 12 months.
The trust’s adult gender identity clinic is now seeing patients referred to them for a first appointment back in August 2017. Other specialists said they were receiving four times as many referrals as they could cope with, according to the Health Service Journal.
Four of the six NHS providers of gender identity services in England shared their data with the publication.
Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation trust said its average waiting time for gender identity services is now in excess of two and a half years, with more than 2,000 patients on its waiting list.
Leeds and York Partnership Foundation trust, which has a waiting list of 1,712, said patients are currently waiting around two and half years for a first appointment. It said there were too few specialists in the field and insufficient funding.
Dr Hercules Eli Joubert, lead clinician and consultant psychologist for Leeds and York Partnership Foundation trust, said: “We are about four times oversubscribed in terms of what we are funded for and the referrals we receive. I don’t think NHS England is unaware of this and to my knowledge are doing everything they can to try and address it, but we have to also be realistic that this is not the
Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation trust was the only trust to say its average waiting time has reduced. Its waiting time in 2018/19 was 46 weeks, compared with 49 weeks in 2017/18.
An NHS England spokesman said: “Demand for gender identity services continues to rise as more people feel able to come forward for support and treatment, and we’ve increased investment to respond to the rising demand for these services, with staff working hard to reduce waiting times for patients.”