Gender Clinic

All posts tagged Gender Clinic

Week 93 – Day 2 : On the home run!

Published November 24, 2015 by Katier Scott

Sorry I have been quiet, I have been going through a period of ill health and as a result I have found it difficult to motivate and find things to write about.

I am definitely on the mend, although definitely not fixed, however I had probably the most important appointment yet, today, so absolutely had to write a blog post to update you.

This afternoon I visited the Northamptonshire Gender Clinic in Daventry for the second opinion consultation for Gender Re-assignment Surgery. This appointment has been a long time coming so I was definitely a little nervous, as such my mum came with me just in case it went wrong. It was a new Gender Clinic (my third), and a one-off appointment, so I was feeling the pressure.

In the event, I need not worry, the consultant was brilliant and, unlike some previous consultants had done a lot of reading up of my notes. As such I sailed through the assessment, and he even dictated a referral letter while I was there.

So that’s it, I have my two referrals for Gender Re-Assignment surgery and hopefully at some point, if I’m lucky in the summer, I will be down in Brighton having the most significant moment of my life.

It’s been an incredibly long journey, well over 5 years altogether and I really can’t thank many people for their help and support enough.

My Parents and Siblings have been incredibly supportive throughout, attending appointments, giving me tips and buying me clothes.

My Children are all fantastic, they are brilliant kids and accept me for who I really am. It’s been incredibly tough for them and I love them so much!

My Ex has done a fantastic job looking after my kids and coping with everything, the fact we’re still amicable is something I am very grateful for!

Lastly but not least my friends, I am so incredibly lucky to have some amazing friends, I appreciate every one of them. They’ve been there for me through tough times, given me advice, helped me be a better person and made a long journey so much easier.

A huge thank you to you all, you all mean so much to me.

Week 68 : Day 6 – Successful complaint

Published June 13, 2015 by Katier Scott

I’ll cut to the chase, I won.. well won is probably strong but my complain against Porterbrook clinic was successful, although interestingly the major point of my complain was successful due to a point I didn’t make!!

I had a formal apology for them mis-handling my transfer from CHX as they shouldn’t have re-assessed me, this they admint ‘probably’ delayed my moving onto T-blockers, although it didn’t effect my Hormones. Hopefully this has raised their awareness of the issue at the very least and any future transfers don’t have this delay in their treatment.

The second point I made was centred about delays in my second opinion appointment for surgery and again they agreed that Porterbrook was at fault, although not exactly on the grounds I gave them. I guess this might have been because part of my complaint was surrounding future delays, rather than actual delays. They said that agreed that there are actual delays and that’s good, but also, and more importantly, have put in place a plan to limit any future delays.

Essentially they told me that Porterbrook, being one of the smaller clinics in the UK, discusses all patients in meetings with all consultants, so even if you don’t see a particular consultant apparently they can’t be considered to be ‘independent’ for the purposes of clinical referrals for surgery. The fact they can do it for hormones (which also needs two referrals in effect) does make this slightly strange, however, and if any medical professionals who read this would like to comment I’m all ears.

However it turns out that currently Porterbrook only do referrals for surgery every 3 months, which means my first referral won’t go through until this month, 4 months (or near enough 18 weeks) since I had been on hormones for 12 months and thus falling outside the 18 week NHS contract. As part of a procedure update this week be reduced to a month for future patients, so that’ll help them, but for me the big ‘win’ is that they are going to contact all gender clinics and arrange an appointment as soon as possible. Obviously if this comes back as anything more than a few weeks I’ll be carrying on with the complaint as, because I’m currently on the treatment path, and it’s a single appointment for second opinion, it shouldn’t be subject to any waiting times commonly suffered by people waiting for their first appointments.

So while it’s not the end of the story, it shows complaints DO work and are worth doing, in the right situation. If you are going to complain I would look at two things. Firstly as to whether the complaint is sensible, if your complaining about waiting for your initial appointment, then it’s probably be better to be proactive and try to find somewhere with a shorter wait time. Secondly make sure you understand the grounds for your complaint and make sure you refer to the regulations, procedures and guidelines the NHS works to when making your complaint.

Saying ‘XYZ gender clinic is crap with horrible delays’ isn’t likely to get far, but make it a proper, well written, complaint with clear aims at what your trying to achieve through the complaint. Refer to the aforementioned procedures, include a run down of your life and treatment to the point, and  connect the dots so it’s clear what the basis of your complaint is. Also suggest solutions, and make them sensible, I suggested three, and Porterbrook came up with a 4th, if the timings for the 4th are ok, then that’s great, if not, then I can just go back to my suggestions and fight harder.

Week 50 – Day 5 : Bumps in the Road (Part 1)

Published February 6, 2015 by Katier Scott

I’ve decided to split this weeks post into three parts as I feel it’s going to be easy to read and give me feedback on. On the subject of feedback I really would appreciate thoughts and feedback on, especially, the first two posts. If you wouldn’t mind sharing them around too via whatever medium you found me by that would be really appreciated. I don’t normally ask, people will come here via whatever means because they find the blog interesting, however I have a few things to talk about that I’d really appreciate some feedback and thoughts on.

Porterbrook Gender Clinic in Sheffield have up to now been very good to me, with very prompt appointments and while their procedures are a little antiquated up to now I haven’t complained because compared to other clinics their appointment times are superb. Generally 4-6 weeks, no more than 8 between appointments compared to 4-6 months or more for Charing Cross for instance.

As such their insistence on seeing me four times before putting me on T-blockers etc. I tolerated as it was still only around 6 months of appointments which I could cope with. I then received an appointment to see a consultant I hadn’t seen before which as they know I’m talking about surgery was fine by me. It would be one of the two I needed, Dr Shetty would provide the other – jobs a goodun…

Unfortunately Dr Shetty then phoned me to tell me the appointment was ‘in error’ and that he would have to see me then they would refer me to Leeds for a s.. hang on Leeds? What?

It turns out that, I’m guessing on the back of the old PCT agreements not only do their initial assessments not follow NHS guidelines which stipulate 2 assessments before hormones or other treatment, not the 4 they do, but they also currently send you off to another GIC, which is even further from home to the tune of at least another hours travelling and £10-15 in petrol, but they have.. wait for it.. WAITING TIMES!!

Given the aforementioned guidelines only mentioned ‘a consultant not directly involved in your primary care’ and that CHX, Nottingham and I’d guess at least Sunderland all do their second consultation internally, then there would seem to be no reason for them not to use the consultant I’ve yet to meet as the second consultation.

On top of that I was also told that they won’t refer until I’ve been on their books 12 months. Given most patients arrive ‘fresh’ on their system that would be entirely reasonable, if a little rigid. However in my case I’ve been in the NHS GIC pathway for 20 months now, full time for 4.5 years and the guidelines state ’12 months RLE for surgery’ – they don’t even mention hormones which is slightly off, but that’s irrelevant.

I have no problem with things like 12 months RLE, hormones for 12 months etc. – they are entirely reasonable timescales to ensure that you are comfortable with the changes etc. – however delays for the sake of the delays ‘because that’s how we always do it’ are definitely in my opinion unacceptable, and making twice as hard for me to plan for my future because rather than squeezing surgery in before training to be a nurse, assuming I get an offer of course, I’m faced with a very uncertain time scale.

I’m waiting for a phone call from my GP to discuss a way forward as while I don’t want to unduly rock the boat, I do want to fight delays for the sake of delay – time delays.

However I’d also like your guys thoughts, hence the initial paragraph, what do you think?

Week 37 – Day 3 : That lightbulb moment!!

Published November 5, 2014 by Katier Scott

Look at the ‘pathway’ for transitioning and it feels and looks like your being asked to jump through hoops and tick boxes to transition.. well that’s not exactly the case – so I realised after my Gender Clinic appointment on Monday.

You see there are two sides to transition, the physical side – and the living side. You could argue there’s also the mental side but look after the first two, and the third should look after itself. The reason for the perception of the need to jump through hoops is the fact you can’t do the physical side, without doing the living side alongside it – for the simple reason you can’t transition if you don’t look after the living side.

In other words, if you won’t/don’t live as the correct gender, and just get on with life – essentially the clinic can’t help you. Why not? Because they only actually deal with the physical side, if your actually finding the physical limitations – and you can’t do that if your not actually living.

Ok some of the physical limitations are kinda obvious, but they aren’t as important – especially initially – as they appear, because first you simply need to live, in order to find them.

My physical limitations list is small, and I bet most peoples will be similar and while very important, equally small.

  1. Genitals – hampering relationships, sunbathing and the ability to go swimming with confidence.
  2. Body hair – my T levels are still too high and this makes things a pain, it’s a minor limitation in the grand scheme of things, but one the clinic can help with, with T-blockers.
  3. Boobs – Swimming and sunbathing and just the mental pleasure of having them!
  4. Hair – I have to wear a wig, once the T-issue is sorted I’m hoping enough will return to allow me to go wigless.

All of this is definitely restrictions and frustrations but doesn’t stop my day-to-day life and as long as some progress is being made on that, the pace, while important, isn’t massively urgent.

So what’s the point of all this wittering on and what was the lightbulb moment.

Well I wont’ tell you all that was said in the meeting because I feel some of it you NEED to understand yourself by realising it yourself, but it’s not something to trip you up – it’s simply you suddenly realising what they need to see from you. It’s a two way process and you need to do the bulk of the transitioning work, they are just there to help out.

The one thing I will say, which was part of this lightbulb moment, was I mentioned I’d re-booked the appointment with her because I had a job interview. The fact I put life ahead of the clinic was important to her from the point of view of being happy that I was fully living my female life.

So the outcome of the appointment seemed very positive, I also had a blood test and hoping I can hurry through the T-blockers because that is my biggest frustration at the moment.

I have my next appointment Monday and the ideal outcome for me would be to get the T-blockers sorted and possibly surgery referral. The latter is less likely, simply because they’ll probably have some steps they want to take, but the fewer trips I make to the clinic the better!!

Anyway, back up to sensible posts related to transitioning.. what HAS this blog come to!

Week 9 Day 2 : Late Again

Published April 22, 2014 by Katier Scott

I have a good excuse for being late though as I’ve just spent the last 6 days in a field and got back, very tired, but happy, yesterday. 

I attended the my first LARP event of the year and had a fantastic time both crewing the event and playing in character. The event I attend is the Empire LARP run by Profound Decisions and after lacking ‘keen’ prior to the event, I definitely have it now. Next event in 5 weeks and I can’t wait!!

I’m obviously in the fortunate position of having a slow, but fairly smooth, transition so far, and appreciate many people struggling with Gender Dysphoria are not so fortunate. Indeed, I’ve probably said it before, I hope this blog helps those less fortunate. However piece of advice I think is essential is that above all else you can’t let Gender Dysphoria rule your lives.

Transsexuals are above all else human beings who have a ‘condition’ that can effect their confidence and mental stability, but if they worry about it then they only make it worse. As with people suffering from a huge range of conditions such as mental and physical disabilities, we are in a situation that, frustrating as it is, should not stop us getting on with our lives.

Not just that but we have to be patient, everyone who requires the services of a doctor or other health specialist has to be patient, even people with life threatening conditions can find themselves with delayed surgery or treatment when someone with a worse condition has to take their slot.

However ultimately the biggest difference between most people and Transgendered people is we can start the treatment process ourselves. Anyone who is 100% clear in their mind that they are living in the wrong gender can, and should, start living in the correct role as soon as possible. It should make your own life more manageable as you are more comfortable with your appearance (although I am fully aware I hate looking at myself in the mirror until I have my hair sorted, have shaved, and put make-up on) and beneficially it helps with the diagnosis when you see the Gender Clinic.

It took me two appointments with the GIC to get my hormones prescribed, that is the absolute quickest that it is possible to so as all steps of any medical treatment which can’t be provided purely on factual analysis (i.e. blood tests, x-rays etc.) requires the separate referral of two specialists. Other examples of such things would be any plastic surgery done on the NHS – e.g. a boob job, tummy tuck etc. . 

If I had arrived at the GIC with zero time in role I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I am now, in other words be pro-active and it’ll help you a LOT. Not only will you be making progress mentally, but you’ll be making things easier once you get to the GIC.

Next step in my own treatment will be next week as I’m having my blood test on Friday and then seeing the GP the following Weds. That meeting will hopefully double my hormone intake if everything goes to plan.