News

Supporting NHS gender identity services

Published: 20 Dec 2021 10:09

£9 million to improve gender identity healthcare.

A framework to improve access to and delivery of NHS gender identity services, backed by £9 million investment has been published.

The NHS Gender Identity Services Strategic Action Framework fulfils commitments in the Programme for Government and Bute House Agreement to publish a plan to improve gender identity healthcare in Scotland by the end of 2021. Actions in the framework include:

  • improving waiting times and providing new multidisciplinary models of care
  • supporting people who are waiting to access services
  • developing national standards for services and improving data collection.

Public Health Minister Maree Todd said:

“This ambitious framework demonstrates our commitment to improve access to and delivery of gender identity healthcare.

“We want to reduce the unacceptable waits to access gender identity services and provide sustainable services and support.

“I am determined that through working with people using these services, organisations representing trans people, clinical groups and NHS Boards we will transform these services and improve the lives of trans people living in Scotland.”

Scottish Government Minister and Scottish Green Party Co-Leader Lorna Slater said:

“Lengthy waiting times for trans people has a serious impact on their mental health. Protecting their right to essential healthcare is a vital part of our commitment to advancing equality for LGBTI people.

"This framework will improve services for a community that is often marginalised. We must continue to include the voices and expertise of trans people, as well as clinicians, academics, NHS Boards and LGBTI organisations in the work to improve these services.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Nicola Steedman said:

“Referrals to gender identity services have increased over the last few years and so too have waiting times. Despite the dedication of NHS staff, we know that some people are currently waiting over three and a half years from referral to first appointment.

“This work will allow us to improve waiting times and ensure gender identity healthcare is person centred, sustainable and built on the principles of Realistic Medicine."

Scottish Trans Alliance Manager Vic Valentine said:

“We warmly welcome this strategic action framework, which alongside crisis funding also provides the foundations for making long lasting, significant change to gender identity healthcare that is so desperately needed. Trans people deserve to live happy, healthy lives, and to have access to the healthcare we need to make this possible. We look forward to contributing to work to transform these services, and in particular to the Scottish Government ensuring that trans people truly are at the heart of decisions made to do so – something that is absolutely crucial to making sure that this framework delivers on its aims.”

Background

NHS gender identity services: strategic action framework 2022-2024 

A National Gender Identity Healthcare Reference Group will be established in early 2022 to oversee implementation of the Framework’s actions. The Group will include people who have used gender identity healthcare as well as clinicians, academics, NHS Boards and LGBTI organisations.

The 2021 Programme for Government and the Bute House Agreement both committed to publishing a plan to transform gender identity services by end of 2021. Also committed to was three years of centralised funding to improve gender identity healthcare.

The Scottish Budget for 2022 to 2023 was published on 9 December 2021. £2 million was allocated in the budget for gender identity healthcare improvements in 22/23. This is part of the planned £9 million to be allocated over three years from 2022.