Hundreds of trans people in Wales who want to start transitioning have been left “in limbo”, because a promised new gender clinic has not opened.
The new clinic to serve all of Wales was first announced in 2017, with a planned opening in Autumn last year. That opening was delayed, and promised again for April 2019.
It has not yet opened.
The campaigning group Wales Equality Alliance say it hasn’t even begun to recruit staff yet. They say the failure to open has left hundreds “in limbo” and it’s down to “clinical incompetence and poor management”.
It’s estimated that there are 5,000 Trans people in Wales, and around 500 are on waiting lists.
Until now those wanting to transition have had to wait years for appointments, and travel hundreds of miles to the gender clinic in London. The clinic was supposed to change all that.
even worse off
Wales Equality Alliance say the delays in opening threaten to leave Welsh trans people even worse off.
Those who had been put on the waiting list in London after plans for the clinic were first announced have been moved to a Welsh waiting list. A waiting list for a clinic which doesn’t exist.
“The situation is very worrying”, says Jenny Charles, the campaign manager from Wales Equality Alliance, who delivered the open letter.
“Things are bad enough as they are. People have died on waiting lists after taking their own life. Welsh Government must act now to rectify the situation before serious harm is done to the community.”
almost two years, still waiting
The original announcement of plans to open the gender clinic for Wales was made in August 2017.
“Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in demand for transgender health services in Wales”, said the Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step towards the fully integrated service I expect to be in place next year”.
There has been no public response to the open letter from the Wales Equality Alliance.
Picture credits: Trans flag from Wiki Commons. Stethescope from Wiki Commons. (Comp. of the two by Transnews). Jenny Charles, from Wales Equality Alliance on Twitter. Vaughan Gething, from Welsh Assembly.