Trust reports on gender reassignment surgery waiting times

Waiting times for patients requiring gender reassignment surgery have been included as part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s standard monthly report to NHS England for the first time.

The Trust is the only NHS organisation commissioned by NHS England to provide gender reassignment surgery from male to female. From July 2016, the number of patients waiting for this surgery will be included in the Trust’s official 18-week referral to consultant-led treatment times (RTT) submission as part of its urology statistics.

The move comes following NHS England’s decision last year to commission more gender reassignment surgeries in response to the high levels of demand.

Prof Justin Vale, chief of service for surgery, said:

“It is absolutely right that our gender reassignment patients should receive the same services and rights as all other NHS patients and be seen and treated as quickly as possible.  

“The accurate recording and reporting of referral to treatment waiting times information is extremely important for patients who can use this data to inform their choices and understand how long they might expect to wait.

“We are committed to reducing waiting times for gender reassignment surgery patients and we are working hard with NHS England to increase our capacity and reduce the amount of time patients wait to receive definitive surgical treatment.”

Under the NHS constitutional standards, patients are entitled to receive their first definitive treatment within 18 weeks of referral. Traditionally, this standard has not applied to gender reassignment patients waiting times because the gender reassignment process is complex and involves psychiatric assessment as well as surgical treatment.  

The Trust also publishes detailed statistics about its gender reassignment surgery each month on its website.