Transgender and non-binary adults know they face a long wait for their first appointment at a gender identity clinic (GIC).
But those looking to access Tavistock’s GIC over-18s’ services face an uphill battle trying to gauge just how long a wait is in store.
This is because Tavistock, based in Hammersmith, no longer release figures for the average wait time between a GP’s referral and first appointment.
Tavistock states on its its website: “We cannot currently give an estimation for how long a new referral will have to wait for their first appointment, as this can depend on many factors.”
The clinic has not explained why they, along with other GIC’s including Sheffield, no longer release this data.
INTERACTIVE CHART: WAITING TIMES FOR FIRST APPOINTMENT AT TAVISTOCK GIC
These figures were correlated from seven FOIs, two CQC reports, three annual reports, an NHS website, a doctor’s blog and findings from the BBC.
They are therefore limited in scope but provide a rough guide to Tavistock GIC waiting times.
The NHS say a patient is legally entitled to be seen within 18 weeks for a non-urgent but necessary consultant-led appointment (green).
The longest wait times (yellow), discovered via an FOI request, show the longest time a patient waited was 142 weeks (32 months) in 2017-18 and 169 weeks (39 months) in 2018-19.
The average wait-time (blue), sourced from Will Huxter’s NHS blog and FOIs, patients waited were 36 weeks (8 months), 49 weeks (11 months) and 57 weeks (13 months) for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
INTERACTIVE CHART: NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON WAITING LIST FOR TAVISTOCK GIC
The figures, obtained by three FOIs, two annual reports and reporting by the BBC, show the number of people on the wait list jumped from 1,723 in Mach 2018 to 3,717 one year later.
By June 2019 it had increased slightly to 3,839 before rising sharply to 5,717 in August.
The latest data, from September 2019, shows there were 6,049 people on the wait list.
INTERACTIVE CHART: PATIENTS SEEN PER MONTH COMPARED TO NUMBER OF NEW REFERRALS AT TAVISTOCK GIC
Tavistock saw more people (blue – 331 and 358) for a first appointment than the number of new referrals they received (yellow – 295 and 301).
The figures for patients seen were extracted from yearly data in a board of director’s meeting and the new referrals numbers were taken from FOIs.
THE IMPACT OF LONG WAITING LISTS
Milla, a trans woman in her early twenties, told South West Londoner: “If I waited on the NHS to get hormones it will be a few years away at best. This is inhumane because gender-affirming care is lifesaving.
“The only feasible options to get this done promptly are to go private or DIY, which is not ideal.
“The NHS trans healthcare system is broken and needs urgent reform to an informed consent model which is not only more trans friendly, it will save the NHS money, resources and the administrative backlog from the waiting list.”
Toni, another trans woman in her early twenties, told the South West Londoner she is still waiting to be prescribed hormones.
She said: “The length of waiting times for GIC is a joke! I plan to start transitioning this year and will be using a private provider.
“Transitioning is stressful enough without having to wait years before starting HRT [hormone replacement therapy] or having to spend a ridiculous amount of money on private care. Why penalise an already marginalised group?”
Tavistock have been contacted for comment but are yet to respond.