In our September 2021/22 Programme for Government we committed to improve access to and delivery of gender identity healthcare in Scotland.
I am pleased to fulfil part of that commitment with the publication of Scottish Government's NHS Gender Identity Services: Strategic Action Framework 2022-2024. We plan to provide £9 million over 3 years, with £2 million in 2022/23, to fund new service models, address waiting times and support those waiting to access services. We will also support staff development and drive service improvement through enhanced data collection and reporting.
As referrals to gender identity services have increased over recent years, so too have waiting times. Waiting times were further impacted by the extraordinary challenges experienced across the NHS as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the continued dedication of NHS staff delivering gender identity healthcare in Scotland, we know that some services are currently seeing people for the first time who were referred for an appointment over three and a half years ago.
We do not underestimate how much work is required in order to deliver timely person-centred care for those who need it. Our NHS is under more pressure than at any point in its history and the challenges it experiences as a result of the pandemic are not over. I am determined, however, that we will transform these services, and in doing so fulfil our commitments in the Programme for Government and Bute House Agreement.
Publication of this Framework demonstrates the Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to improve the lives of trans people living in Scotland. I would like to personally thank all those who have contributed to its development. The actions it sets out have been developed based on evidence and the lived experience of people using services. They have been further honed through the advice and challenge of people with lived experience, third sector organisations, NHS clinicians and service leads. Their input has been invaluable. We look forward to working together to deliver sustainable, person-centred services fit for the future.
Maree Todd MSP
Minister for Public Health, Women's Health and Sport