More than 700 people in Sheffield waiting for help from NHS gender identity clinic

More than 700 people in Sheffield are facing long waits to be seen by specialists at NHS gender identity clinics.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:09 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 2:40 pm

Some people in the UK have had to wait three years for their first appointment at a clinic, BBC research has found.

Nationally, more than 13,500 transgender and non-binary adults are on waiting lists for NHS gender identity clinics in England.

In Sheffield alone, 731 adults face a long wait to see a specialist in the city’s gender identity clinic, which offers assessment and support to people aged 18 and above with gender dysphoria.

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Sheffield's Gender Identity Clinic is based at the Michael Carlisle Centre
Sheffield's Gender Identity Clinic is based at the Michael Carlisle Centre

Gender dysphoria is a condition in which a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.

There has been a 40 per cent increase in referrals over the past four years and NHS England said it had increased investment amid rising demand.

An NHS England spokesperson said: "Demand for gender identity services continues to rise as more people feel able to come forward for support and treatment, and we've increased investment to respond to the rising demand, with staff working hard to reduce waiting times for patients and support people who are on waiting list."

Sheffield’s gender identity clinic, also known as the Porterbrook Clinic, is one of eight clinics in the UK.

The service supports adults living in Sheffield and across the country who have concerns about their gender identity, and offers psychosocial transitional support or medical treatment to alleviate gender identity distress.

Although the clinic does not publish waiting times, they say that the amount of time patients have to wait to be seen ‘remains unacceptably high’, as demand is ‘far greater’ than they can manage.

Katie Roe, business and performance manager at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Clinic, said: “The demand for gender identity services has risen over the past few years across the country, and the demand for our service in Sheffield is no different.

“We’re working hard to see people as quickly as we can while ensuring that the service provides clinical safety for those currently accessing the service.”