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Delays in gender affirming surgery - Oliver's story

Trans man “appalled and disgusted” by delays to gender affirming surgeries.

Posted on 19 July 2023

As a legal investigation is launched on behalf of trans men who are facing delays in receiving gender affirming surgeries, our client, Oliver, talks about the resulting trauma caused by lengthy waits.

"I had stage one metoidioplasty in August 2020 with St. Peters. I was not informed by St. Peter's or NHS England that St. Peter's were already out of contract with NHSE, or that they would not be able to perform my second stage. Had I been told the truth; I would have been able to make an informed decision.

“Since then, for the last three years, my life has been completely on hold and I remain in limbo, waiting for the next two stages of my surgery, which I have now been informed by the new provider, will actually be a further three stages. Another surgery will mean an additional general anaesthetic which has its own medical risks, additional time off work, and the additional physical and emotional effects of surgical recovery.

“I have had to commence courses of antidepressants to help manage gender dysphoria and the all-consuming effects on my mental health of what seems like an endless wait for the rest of my surgery. I have also had to seek private counselling, without support or acknowledgement from NHS England. I struggle to form romantic relationships due to the way my body has been left, and my career is on hold as I do not know when I will need time off for the completion of surgery. I endure the physical pain of being left 'unfinished.'

“I am appalled and disgusted at the way transmasculine people have been treated, and particularly that it took 18 months for NHS England to contract a new provider for these surgeries, leaving hundreds of patients without any access to urgent and important services, let alone mental health support to bridge the gap. Meanwhile of course, the already lengthy waiting list grew even longer.

“NHS England does not allow this to happen in any other service, which only leaves me to feel like a second-class citizen and that they do not view gender dysphoria as the valid or important condition that it is. Surgery is still looked upon as an "elective surgery" when in fact it is often lifesaving.

I am desperate to move on with my life but have been left alone in a dark and vulnerable position with no end in sight."

Kate Egerton
Discrimination Human rights

Kate Egerton

Kate Egerton is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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Delays in gender affirming surgeries

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