Waiting time target to be set for trans healthcare
The Scottish Government is to set new national targets for gender identity services to help reduce waiting times.
In a new framework on trans healthcare, it has made 17 commitments to improve services across Scotland.
These include more funding to support people currently on waiting lists and establishing a gender identity service specifically for young people.
A new group will also be set up to oversee the implementation of the recommendations until 2024.
Public health minister Maree Todd said: “We want to reduce the unacceptable waits to access gender identity services and provide sustainable services and support.
“I am determined that through working with people using these services, organisations representing trans people, clinical groups and NHS Boards we will transform these services and improve the lives of trans people living in Scotland.”
The document says the government will “bring gender identity services within national waiting times standards”.
The general healthcare standard is to have over 90 per cent of patients treated within 18 weeks of referral, including receiving an outpatient appointment within 12 weeks of referral.
It comes after rising concerns about the long waits trans people face before receiving support, with reports suggesting some people were waiting 35 months for treatment.
Deputy chief medical officer Nicola Steedman said: “Referrals to gender identity services have increased over the last few years and so too have waiting times… This work will allow us to improve waiting times and ensure gender identity healthcare is person-centred.”
Public Health Scotland will also be asked to establish routine data collection and monitoring of gender identity services against the national waiting time targets.
The Scottish Trans Alliance welcomed the framework, which is also backed by £9m.
Manager Vic Valentine said: “Trans people deserve to live happy, healthy lives, and to have access to the healthcare we need to make this possible. We look forward to contributing to work to transform these services, and in particular to the Scottish Government ensuring that trans people truly are at the heart of decisions.”