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England is an international outlier in trans healthcare – but not in a good way. In November 2022, we went to the High Court to challenge NHS England over the extreme waiting times faced by trans people trying to access specialised healthcare. In January 2023, we received news that our challenge had been rejected by the Judge – but we were also granted permission for an appeal, which was disappointingly dismissed in July 2023.
Update 21 February 2023: We have now received news that permission to appeal the judgment has been granted. This will allow us to challenge the court’s findings about whether NHS England is in breach of its statutory obligations by failing to ensure timely specialist treatment for trans patients.
NHS England has a legal duty to see 92% of trans people referred for specialist treatment within 18 weeks. The average waiting time for young people to get treatment is three years, while for many adults it’s four years or more. Waiting lists stretch into the thousands, and this situation predated the pandemic by a long margin.
That’s why we’ve brought a legal challenge against NHS England.
In November 2022, the High Court heard our claim – brought alongside five co-claimants: Eva and Alex, two children and trans-led grassroots charity Gendered Intelligence. We say these waiting times, and other failures in trans healthcare services, are discriminatory and unlawful.
Such long waits mean trans adolescents are missing the short window of time in which puberty blockers are useful. While adults don’t face the same issue, the denial of treatment restricts the lives they are able to lead and has hugely harmful consequences for mental health.
The bottom line is waits for treatment are leading to the loss of lives and things are getting worse, not better. This cannot continue unchecked.
If you are in a position to donate to support our work in this area, any amount big or small would be greatly appreciated. You can find more information on how to donate to our trans healthcare appeal here.
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