NHS England has a duty of care to provide the best standards of healthcare to all children and young people, including children and young people who are trans, gender diverse and exploring their gender identity.
The CQC (Care Quality Commission) report shows that NHS England is failing to adhere to its own 18-week maximum waiting times limit for young people accessing Gender Identity Development Services and therefore must realise that these waiting times are not going to disappear without them acting.
Clinical staff, managers and colleagues within GIDS have been expressing their concern for some years about the increasing demand on the service and consequent waiting times. Parents and carers, trans and LGBT+ organisations as well as young patients of the service have each, repeatedly talked of the extremely long waiting times and the strain, distress and limbo that this leaves many of our young people in.
The NHS has a duty to support all children who have been referred to a specialist service within their own recommended timeframes.
The responsibility surely lies with the commissioning bodies rather than with the services that are trying to deal with the increase in demand.
It is a scandal that the waiting lists have been allowed to grow to such disastrous lengths, endangering young people who want and need access to the UK’s only NHS service for trans under-18s.
The voluntary sector is here to support the NHS by working alongside our colleagues and offering support to those who are waiting for their first appointment or when they are in between appointments.
Gendered Intelligence has been partnering with adult (ages 17+) Gender Identity Clinics for several years. We also deliver youth groups, residentials and mentoring to children and young people who are trans and/or exploring their gender.
Dr Jay Stewart, CEO of Gendered Intelligence, says:
“We need urgently to address the crushing waiting times currently in place at GIDS. GIDS can act as a much-needed reference and support centre for young gender diverse people and it shows from the CQC (Care Quality Commission) report that many families positively benefit from the service and are treated with compassion and kindness from staff.
At Gendered Intelligence, we never have and never would advocate for a rush towards any medical treatment for young people, and reiterate that these unacceptable waiting times mean simply that young people aren’t getting timely, robust guidance or professional direction with regards to an exploration of their gender identity from our National Health Service. We all intrinsically know that this cannot be right.”
Gendered Intelligence welcomes the Cass Review.