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Local Healthwatch works to improve advocacy for transgender people

10/02/16

People who identify as transgender can face problems and prejudice accessing health and social care services.

We speak to Healthwatch Brighton and Hove to find out what they are doing to help ensure people get the support they need.

Local Healthwatch around the country have reported that a high proportion of people seeking gender reassignment services are subject to long delays for consultation and surgery.

In May 2015 we wrote to NHS England outlining our key concerns, which included long waits, poor communication and a lack of specialist consultants.

Local Healthwatch have been working to tackle this range of issues and to make sure that people's views are sought and listened to.  

We spoke to Nicky Cambridge, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove to find out more.

Why did you start work on this issue?

There are over 2,760 people who identify as transgender living in the city, and many more that come here to study, work or socialise, so it is really important that we support their access to local and national health and social care services.

The council’s public health team recently undertook a Transgender Needs Assessment and I co-chaired the Steering Group alongside a local community rep. Our work found that:

  • Four in five transgender people had experienced depression and one in three had self-harmed in the last three years.
  • Improvements could be made to improve transgender people’s experience of health services, including GPs and specialist services.
  • Long waiting times for gender identity services had a detrimental impact on the lives of those affected.
  • It is common for transgender people to experience hate incidents and they feel less safe than the overall population.

What happened as a result?

We are working in partnership with MindOut, a local voluntary LGBTQ mental health service, to set up the city’s first transgender advocacy service.

Hosted by MindOut, and funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, the service will offer advice, information, and support for transgender people, and provide information about services and treatment at the Gender Identity Clinic, as well as:

  • Primary and secondary health care
  • Social Care
  • Legal issues
  • Family and relationships
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Hate crime, harassment and bullying

As Healthwatch Brighton and Hove we will work with people using the service to ensure that their experiences are used to improve services for the long term.  


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If you have been affected by any issues regarding gender identity services you can get in touch with your local Healthwatch.

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