People hoping for gender identity treatment in Britain may have to wait years for a specialist appointment because demand is so high. The number of people seeking gender reassignment has shot up to record highs and has shown no signs of ‘levelling of’, according to experts. Figures obtained by the Guardian reveal that all 14 of the UK’s gender identity clinics (GICs) have experienced increases in recent years. At the clinic in Leeds, where referrals have tripled from 131 in 2009-10 to 414 in the last year, it is estimated new patients face a four-year wait for their first appointment. However, the clinic is hoping waiting times will fall if greater funding is secured.
A clinic in Nottingham saw 30 referrals in 2008 rise to 850 last year and, at the largest adult clinic in Charing Cross, London, the number jumped from 498 in 2006-07 to 1,892 in 2015-16. James Barrett, consultant psychiatrist at the Charing Cross clinic, told the Guardian: ‘It obviously can’t continue like that forever because we’d be treating everyone in the country, but there isn’t any sign of that levelling off.’ The GIC in Tavistock, the only centre for children and adolescents in England, has witnessed a jump from 697 to 1,398 referrals in the last year. It is believed that one in six adults face a wait of longer than 12 months for their first appointment, with the average waiting time nine months. There are more than 15,000 gender identity patients in the UK, roughly 12,700 adults and 2,700 children.