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The High Court has rejected our attempt to challenge the long waiting times experienced by trans people seeking help from the NHS. The waits are measured in years rather than weeks and months. We will seek permission from the Court of Appeal to try and overturn this decision.
It’s always disappointing to lose a case, especially when the loss impacts on people already discriminated against in society.
The fact remains that NHS England has a duty to see 92% of those referred to specialist healthcare services within 18 weeks. The average waiting time for young transgender people is nearly three years, and many adults face waits of four years or more.
Good Law Project went to court last November to challenge these unacceptably long waits. Sadly the judge decided that: “NHS England is doing all it can reasonably be expected to do to reduce waiting times”. Obviously, we disagree.
In a positive development, the Judge rejected the NHS’s argument that young people seeking gender reassignment are not protected under the Equality Act 2010. This is an important legal conclusion and is likely to have wider implications for young people in the trans community.
Claimant Eva Echo said: “I’m extremely disappointed by the decisions overall, which only serve to prolong the mental health suffering of the trans community, and I welcome the chance to appeal. I also welcome clarification that trans youths are protected under the Equality Act 2010, which will provide more people with protection against discrimination.”
We are very grateful to those who took on this case: Eva and Alex, two child claimants and the trans-led grassroots charity Gendered Intelligence.
Whilst this is not the outcome we hoped for, we will continue to do what we can to help trans and non-binary people live their lives free from inequality.
We’re proud of our record in supporting the trans community. We have won two out of the three cases brought to help strengthen the rights of trans and non-binary people.