A new service to prescribe transgender patients hormones from a specialist GP in Wales has been welcomed by BMA Cymru Wales as a ‘step in the right direction’.
Patients in the Cardiff and Vale area who have experienced difficulty in accessing the medicines that have been recommended for them by the London Gender Identity Clinic will be able to access their prescriptions in Wales from next month.
BMA Cymru Wales has said that, while it welcomes this initial service, it is disappointed it has taken so long.
BMA Welsh GPs committee negotiating team member Nimish Shah said: ‘The announcement is a step in the right direction and while we welcome it, we are disappointed and frustrated that progress has been slow.
‘We are actively involved in facilitating a primary care element. However, the long-term solution for that has not yet been formalised.’
While the initial service is limited to patients who have already been referred to the London Clinic and live in the Cardiff and Vale area, the long-term plan is to develop a network of specialist GPs throughout all Welsh health boards who can prescribe.
The new Welsh Gender Team will eventually start seeing and assessing patients in Wales without the need for them to travel to London. However, Welsh patients will still need to travel to hospitals in England for surgery.
Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething said: ‘Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in demand for transgender health services in Wales. As part of our commitment to improve health and well-being for all, we have invested £500,000 annually to improve gender identity services in Wales.
‘This announcement is a positive step towards the fully integrated service I expect to be in place next year. A specialist team in Wales will reduce both the distance of travel and, over time, the waiting times people in Wales currently experience.’
BMA Welsh GPs committee chair Charlotte Jones was critical at the lack of progress on a Welsh transgender clinic during her keynote speech at this year’s Welsh local medical committees conference.
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