My long-awaited second appointment at an NHS gender clinic

I couldn’t sleep much last night as I was worrying about the big day I had today:  My second appointment at my NHS gender clinic.  My first appointment was a bit of an anti-climax as it was just a video chat with a nurse, after waiting for 3 years, 2 months.  They wanted to see me in person today and it was with a doctor this time, so it promised to be so much more. In the event, it was just a 2-hour chat with the doctor, where I told him my story – exactly the same that I told the nurse at my first appointment and exactly the same that I told my private gender psychotherapist 3.5 years ago.  The doctor told me that the purpose of today’s appointment was to allow him to make a decision of whether the clinic would treat me or not.  The whole system is riddled with such gatekeepers and they hold so much power over us.  Thankfully, at the end of the session, he confirmed that he was satisfied that I do indeed have gender dysphoria (oh what a surprise!) and that the clinic will treat me.  Phew!  It’s no wonder that the NHS waiting lists for gender clinics are so long when they refuse to take into account diagnosis by private psychotherapists (even when they too work for the NHS and are very highly regarded within the field) and also the length of time that patients have already been on hormone therapy.

He asked me to send him the results of my next blood test (which is booked for 2nd September), after which we will have a video appointment.  I was expecting him too say he would take over prescribing my hormone therapy from the private clinic, but no, for reasons best known to the NHS, I will have to wait a further 6 months before they will do that.  Then, 8 months after that, I will have another appointment to discuss lower surgery.  Once that is signed off, I then have to get a second opinion (which I will probably have to pay for privately to speed things up), before (you guessed) being placed on another waiting list – for surgery.  The doctor said he thought that it will probably take around 3 years to get my surgery.  He also said based on what he had seen today, my notes from the first appointment and the length of time I have already been on hormone therapy, that he would be happy to sign me of for surgery right now, but frustratingly, he is forced to follow the protocol of making me jump the through all the hoops that I have already jumped through privately.  I liked the doctor, but the whole system he has to work with is rotten and completely broken.  At least I’m in the system now though.  All I have to do is wait.  And wait…

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