A network of GPs with a specialist interest in gender identity healthcare will be set up in Wales to help transgender people access the care they need closer to home, the Welsh Government has announced.
This is part of a new adult gender identity service which hopes to improve access, reduce waiting times and provide a better user experience for transgender people needing care.
And for the first time, Wales will also have new specialist hospital-based services for the transgender community.
Announcing this new service just before Cardiff Mardi Gras this weekend, health secretary Vaughan Gething said that there has been an ‘increase in demand’ for transgender health services in Wales over the last few years.
He said: ‘As part of our commitment to improve health and wellbeing for all, this year we made additional funding available within the Welsh Government budget to improve gender identity provision in Wales.
‘The All Wales Gender Identity Partnership Group, which includes representatives from the transgender community and service users, has been actively involved in designing the new service and will continue to be involved in all future work.’
This comes after NHS England published its consultation last month on gender identity services, asking for opinion on GPs’ involvement in prescribing hormone therapy. GPs and other interested parties have until 30 September to respond.
The consultation was launched following a row between the GPC and GMC over GPs’ concerns that they were being forced to prescribe to gender dysphoria patients without the necessary expertise. The GPC responded by advising GPs to ignore GMC guidance on the matter.
Under the new arrangements in Wales, a multidisciplinary service, the Welsh Gender Team (WGT), will provide support to a network of GPs across Wales with a specialist interest in all areas of gender care, including hormone replacement therapy, The WGT will also accept direct referrals from GPs.
The service will initially facilitate prescribing of medication for referred individuals who have already attended appointments at the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in London, and will start to accept new referrals and repatriate individuals from next April.
Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of the BMA Cymru Wales GPC, said: ‘GPC Wales is delighted to see how Welsh Government has taken a proactive approach to listening and addressing the holistic care needs that the transgender community has.
‘We’re also pleased that this will involve GPs with specialist interest being a pivotal part of the proposed service, and it provides all GPs involved in the patient journey with clarity on referral pathways, which is a first for the UK.’