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Stonewall Cymru welcomes 'big step forward' for trans healthcare

  • Welsh Government announces creation of an adult gender identity service for Wales

  • Patients will no longer have to travel to London to access care

  • Announcement follows campaign for reform

Stonewall Cymru, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality charity, has today welcomed the creation of an adult gender identity service for Wales.

Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething AM, today announced significant reforms to the way NHS Wales cares for trans patients. This includes the creation of a multidisciplinary Welsh Gender Team who will accept direct referrals from GPs, and a network of GPs with a special interest across Wales able to provide care locally. From March 2018, the Welsh Gender Team will take new referrals and offer care to those currently on waiting lists or receiving treatment in London.

Currently, trans people in Wales referred for transition-related healthcare through the NHS have to travel to the Gender Identity Clinic in Charing Cross, London. Patients face long journeys, waiting times which frequently exceed the statutory limit and difficulties in bringing supportive family or friends to accompany them.

Working with trans equality campaigners from across the country, Stonewall Cymru has been calling for a gender identity service for Wales, and this was the headline in their manifesto for the 2016 National Assembly for Wales election. 

Today’s announcement follows the creation of the All Wales Gender Identity Partnership Group, made up of NHS Wales bodies, clinicians and trans community representatives (including Stonewall Cymru) tasked with looking at options for trans healthcare reform in Wales. Last October, the budget deal agreed between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru included £1m for gender identity services and eating disorder clinics.

Crash Wigley, Stonewall Cymru Policy and Campaigns Officer, said: ‘The creation of a gender identity service for Wales is a big step forward after years of campaigning by trans communities.

For too long, trans people in Wales have been denied access to essential and potentially life-saving care and support in our own country. These changes remove many of those barriers, and we particularly welcome the commitment to develop locally-based models of care and removing the requirement for referrals through mental health services.

As a next step, we hope to see the development of a gender identity service for children and young people in Wales which will provide care and support to them and their families.

It is crucial that trans people are involved in each step of the process to reform trans healthcare, and we look forward to continuing to work with trans communities and NHS Wales towards a system that ensures high quality care for all.’