Today I made a phone call to Dr. Curtis in London. Dr. Curtis is a specialist in the private sector of transgender treatment and comes highly recommended in the transgender community for both FTMs and MTFs. My first consultation with him is on the 2nd of February 2012.
The decision to go with a private practitioner has not been taken lightly. Over the last nine months, I have done a lot of research on the internet looking through several transgender forums and talking with quite a few trans men and women about waiting times and treatment on the NHS. What I have found has been quite disheartening. From GPs who don't know the NHS approved pathways to extremely long waiting times between each step of the pathway, the NHS, in my opinion, has failed trans men and women over and over again.
For me personally, there have been several shortcomings with the NHS. In April 2011, I came out to my GP who summarily dismissed it as being "a temporary mental issue" because I am dating a man. (After all, we know that trans men are always attracted to women and never to men, right?) In June, I changed GPs and came out to my new GP as bigender and trans. He was more supportive, but didn't have a clue what the PCT's pathway is nor who to refer me to. It took him a month to make a referral to the local community mental health team and a further six weeks (prodded by me making several phone calls at the 4 week mark) before I got sent my first consultation appointment during the month of September. My second appointment was rescheduled from October to November and I was then informed that I would have to attend a third appointment on the 23rd of January 2012 in order to get my referral to the Gender Identity Clinic.
Up to present time, my transition journey has taken nine months and I don't even have a referral letter in my hand as of yet. According to several people I have talked with, the waiting list to get seen at the Gender Identity Clinic is anywhere from 6 months to a year from referral and another 6 to 9 months before I get prescribed hormones. I am not willing to wait another year or longer just to get a simple hormone replacement prescription - a prescription might I add, that a male assigned at birth person can get in one or two months - therefore, I am going private with Dr. Curtis long enough to get prescribed testosterone and transfer that prescription over to my current GP.
It is my hope that this blog or at the very least the message contained in this blog gets brought to the attention of someone in the NHS and results in change regarding how transgender people are treated.