No one should wait for the healthcare they need

The South London Press carried a serious allegation against the NHS made by Caroline Russell, the chairwoman of the health committee of the London Assembly, (Transgender Londoners being failed by NHS, SLP, March 4) which requires an urgent investigation.

The report talks of the long waits “trans and gender-diverse people” have before they can access “gender-affirmative” care.

It is regrettable that anyone should have to wait for the healthcare they need. But this complaint by the London Assembly does not address the issue of whether care should in fact only be “gender-affirmative”.

Is the real need here, initially at least, for the NHS to offer better exploratory therapy, rather than simply taking action (such as supplying hormone therapy or invasive surgery) to meet an individual’s own demands?

That question is an important one as many publicly-funded bodies, a lot of them Stonewall Diversity Champions, have taken both to promoting extreme gender ideology and to using opposition to gay conversion therapy to also argue against exploratory talking and listening therapy for those presenting with gender dysphoria issues.

But the allegation requiring immediate investigation is the claim that “trans and gender-diverse” people face barriers to booking (presumably medically necessary) NHS blood tests.

If someone alleged, for example, that the NHS discriminated against providing blood tests for people of a particular ethnic or religious group, there would, rightly, be uproar and calls for an immediate investigation and the necessary improvements to be made. Why has that not happened here?

There are numerous ways of raising cases of alleged discrimination: in the first place with the service provider, then with the health ombudsman, and of course we have elected councillors, assembly members, and members of parliament who could all be called upon to help.

It seems improbable that discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, if it occurred, would not have been dealt with at the time and not be left to emerge in answers to a survey on which the London Assembly is basing this point in its report.

As so many parts of the NHS (including health trusts in South London) use taxpayers’ money to support the activities of the former gay rights, now primarily gender rights, charity Stonewall, shouldn’t we also be asking whether that is a good use of our money?

We should be asking that generally, and even more so if the charity has been unable to ensure that blood tests are available in the NHS for its client group.

The list of Stonewall Diversity Champions can be found online at

Tim Barnsley
Valley Road, Streatham




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