"Transphobic Endocrinology Department"

About: Harrogate District Hospital

Disgusted. Was referred by my GP to the endocrinology department for HRT to complete my transition. After four weeks of hearing nothing, rang to enquire. Receptionist had no idea my referral existed and had to rummage around for it, then said it was on a different route because it was from a gender service. It wasn't. It was from a GP. Then they said I could only see the consultant once a month, because the other consultants won't treat transgender patients, and how was June.

I will have waited six months for a first appointment by the time I ever see this consultant. When I told them this breaches my right to treatment within 18 weeks, I was told it 'doesn't count' because the GICs take longer. It does count. It's consultant-led treatment, therefore it counts. Then was told I couldn't be seen outside of the monthly clinic, because I'm transgender. Obviously my treatment is automatically a permanently lower priority than anybody else's could possibly be, even though I have been suicidal due to how long this entire process is taking, and I don't deserve to be treated like any other patient because I am transgender. And to top it all off, how is it appropriate or even legal for it to be said that other consultants 'won't' see transgender patients?

I'm not allowed to have a regular appointment like a 'normal' person. It's somehow appropriate to push off my treatment until the consultant can take a special day out to deal with us troublesome trans people. And it's fine to breach my rights as a patient and make me wait six months because you can't be bothered to behave as though I'm just like all the other patients going through the department every day.

Utterly appalled, and still fighting to get an appointment within a reasonable time frame and be treated like a human being.

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Response from Communications and Marketing Manager, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

Hello Ali

Many thanks for your comments.

The specialist Gender Service for our locality is the one in Leeds. Patients referred in to the Gender Service in Leeds currently have to wait four years to get on the care pathway, although NHS England is investing an additional £4m in 2016/17 to get waiting lists down to 18 weeks.

The service in Leeds advises, as per the NHS England commissioning document, that bridging hormone treatment can be prescribed and that if the GP wants guidance on this they can refer to a local endocrinologist or the endocrine lead for the regional (Leeds) gender service, which is Harrogate District Hospital consultant Dr Hammond.

Few endocrinologists feel they have the expertise to effectively manage the hormone treatment required by transgender patients, and advise GPs to refer patients on to Dr Hammond. Therefore, it would be giving you a suboptimal service to ask any other local endocrinologist to see you.

Dr Hammond is the only endocrinologist who runs a monthly gender clinic – based on patient feedback it is our understanding that most patients feel more comfortable attending a dedicated gender clinic – which means that new patient slots are limited.

I understand you’re in touch with the service already which is assisting you with your concerns, including around options for your next appointment.