Wales will open first gender identity clinic in September
The first Welsh Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) will open in September in Cardiff, the Welsh government has said.
The BBC reports that the health minister Vaughan Gething said that setting up the service was the “first step in enabling people to access services closer to home.”
The GIC will be based in St David’s Hospital, near Cardiff city centre.
The plans to open a Welsh GIC were announced in August 2017 and the clinic was meant to be opened in April 2019.
Currently, trans people in Wales are referred to a GIC in London.
The Welsh government has previously been criticised for the delays in opening the country’s first GIC.
Wales Equality Alliance, a trans rights group, wrote an open letter expressing anger at the delay and raising concerns about the impact this was having on waiting lists for GIC’s and on the mental health of people waiting for treatment.
Trans people facing three-year wait for first GIC appointment
The NHS says that the standard waiting time for a first appointment at a GIC after GP referral should be a maximum of 18 weeks.
However, trans people in some parts of the country face a three-year wait for that first appointment.
In May, it was revealed that, in Devon, patient numbers at Exeter’s GIC had doubled and some had been on the waiting list for more than three years.
And experts warned a parliamentary committee in November 2018 that trans healthcare services were at breaking point.
The UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee published submissions to an inquiry into LGBT healthcare, revealing the high level of concern about access to gender-related services.
Trans people in the UK often have to resort to crowdfunding campaigns to fund their transitions, or use private trans healthcare providers to access medication.
One of the UK’s most prominent online private trans health clinics, GenderGP, had to relocate to Spain earlier this year after two of its doctors were suspended pending investigation by the General Medical Council, leaving their trans patients facing an uncertain future.