A long-awaited gender identify treatment service in Wales will start to see patients in October, the health secretary has announced.
And patients in the Cardiff area who have been waiting for hormone treatment will be able to get prescriptions from a specialist GP from next month.
In February, BMA Wales GP committee chair Dr Charlotte Jones slammed the ‘unacceptable’ lack of progress on the setting up of a transgender enhanced service run by GPs with special interest with one LMC warning the delay was damaging patients’ mental health.
Plans for the service were initially announced in August 2017 after GPs had battled for a Welsh service to help patients currently having to travel to London and who were struggling to maintain treatment.
Dr Jones expressed GPs frustration that plans were not moving forward and that there had been a ‘lack of transparency’.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething said the new Welsh Gender Team will start seeing patients at the end of October with those in most need in the Cardiff and Vale area being seen next month.
He added that work was continuing with health boards and the BMA’s GP Committee to develop a fully integrated gender identity service in Wales.
‘Today’s announcement is a positive step towards the fully integrated service I expect to be in place next year.
‘A specialist team in Wales will reduce both the distance of travel and, over time, the waiting times people in Wales currently experience.’
Dr Nimish Shah, member of the BMA’s Welsh GPs committee said: ‘The cabinet secretary’s announcement is a step in the right direction.
‘The fact that it has taken until now for progress to be made is however, frustrating.
‘GPC Wales believes that transgender patients should be treated as close to home as possible, and will continue to work with the Welsh Government to ensure this happens.’