A transgender boy is taking NHS England to court over delays in accessing gender identity treatment.
The 14-year-old, who was referred to the UK’s only youth gender identity clinic in October 2019, has been told he may have to wait at least another year to be seen.
He said he was experiencing “fear and terror” while he waits for treatment.
Young people are currently facing “extensive waits” to see a therapist, with the average delay being 18 months or more, according to the Good Law Project, which is representing the boy.
The not-for-profit organisation said the health service was legally required to ensure patients referred to gender identity development services (GIDS) are seen within 18 weeks.
Gender clinics for adults across the country have reported similar delays, with the Devon Partnership NHS Trust reporting “lengthy waiting times” while the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said patients were facing delays “in excess of 32 months” for an initial appointment and 62 months from referral to treatment.
Trusts have blamed a surge in demand as well as reduced capacity, including staffing problems.
The teenager involved in the case said in a statement: “The length of the NHS waiting list means the treatments which are essential for my well being are not available to me."
“By the time I get to the top of the list it will be too late, and in the meantime I suffer the fear and terror that gender dysphoria causes, every day.”
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Source: The Independent, 23 November 2020