A 14-year-old transgender boy is starting legal proceedings against NHS England over delays to gender reassignment treatment. The teenager has waited over a year for referral to the only NHS gender clinic for children and adolescents. The Good Law Project, which is acting for the teenager, says the NHS has a legal obligation to provide specialist care to all patients within 18 weeks, or provide an alternative. Transgender boy
NHS England says a review is under way. It announced the independent review into gender identity services for young people in September. An NHS England spokesperson said this would include “how and when children and young people were referred to specialist services”. There have been previous reports of trans young people experiencing “hugely distressing” waits for treatment at the gender-identity development service (GIDS) run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
The teenager at the centre of this latest case, who wants to be known as Reece, told the BBC he “ideally” would not have to bring legal action. But he says he had no choice because “nobody else is sticking up for trans young people”. Reece first came out as a trans boy in primary school. His family, friends and teachers were all supportive of him transitioning.
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However, Reece says he was able to access help with his transition only through expensive private healthcare. He spoke to his GP about a referral to GIDS in October 2019, but he is yet to hear anything from an NHS specialist. is He says he is aware of others awaiting gender reassignment treatment. “I know more than 30 trans people, from school and LGBT groups. Everybody’s been waiting for months, or even years, but nobody’s been able to get in yet.