We interrupt your irregularly scheduled articles investigating the formation of the National Gender Service (NGS) to bring you an update on the NGS’s waiting list for initial assessment.
A recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request returned the following numbers:
At the end of 2021 the NGS waiting list had reached 862 people with an estimated wait of over five years. The above numbers mean that 136 people were removed from the list in 2022, indicating that the expected waiting time hit nine years this month.
There’s some context you should have to properly understand this data. As with previous years not all of those removed from the list would have had their first appointment. For example, I know of one lady who had emigrated and thus declined the appointment. She promptly was prescribed HRT by her new GP as she had moved to a country with an informed consent model.
The two invasive appointments of the initial assessment are also no guarantee of receiving HRT for those who want it, with over a third of patients being asked to attend further appointments. You have to be 17 to be referred, so when you consider that all the appointments involved will likely take at least a year, the youngest someone could be expected to receive HRT or other essential trans healthcare is at age 27.
Last year it looked like there might be the start of a slowdown in referrals with 358 in 2021, the 489 in 2022 however brings us back to exponential growth.
The 626 is interesting in that a number was provided. As recently as November 2021 the NGS didn’t know how many patients they had. All they could share was an estimate of 700 attending for regular reviews, which didn’t quite add up. The NGS had indicated in a FoI September 2021 that they plan “audit work, data collection and process re-organisation” and “an appropriate IT system” which would allow for basic statistics to be extracted, which looks to be at the least progressing. This should allow for deeper analysis next year.
Finally, given that 160 people were removed from the list in 2021, the 136 in 2022 represents a 17% drop in new patients handled. Maybe the NGS doctors could have spent more time with their own patients, and less time asking the Department of Health to eliminate what little youth trans healthcare there is:
It wouldn’t be the first time that the NGS has sought to remove healthcare for trans youth.
If Jessica Black (she/it) had to describe Irish trans healthcare to a German in a single word she would say nein. This pun also available as Gaeilge.