All posts tagged porterbrook

Week 64 – Day 7 : Making progress.

Published May 17, 2015 by Katier Scott

So what a week, as you know I’ve been treading water with a lot of stuff recently but while none of them are completely sorted there has been definite progress.

The book, Born a Woman, is now up to 5500 words and making slow, but steady progress. I’m going on a long train journey in a couple of weeks so plan on putting a few 1000 more words on the count during the trip, alongside steady progress in the intervening time. 10-12000 by the end of the month would be nice.

I finally made progress with the complaint with Porterbrook, I had a very pleasant phone call with the consultant who had been assigned my case, and he clearly agreed with my complaint. While he couldn’t commit to any decisions without talking to Porterbrook he agreed that the way Porterbrook had handled my transfer wasn’t correct and sounded extremely surprised that they refer to Leeds for the second opinion rather than simply trying to arrange the next available appointment. It sounded like his plan A is to find out which clinic can give me the earliest appointment and go from there, but he couldn’t commit to anything. At least it was a positive telephone call which kicked off, for me, a fantastic week.

I’m going in tomorrow to sort out my ID for my second job, so that’s great, means hopefully my financial position will improve soon, and remove a little stress. It’ll also mean I can start generating experience relevant to my future career as a Mental Health Nurse, speaking of which got my Occupational Health appointment for that on 1st June. Heard about that this week so that was good.

Roller Derby has also been positive this week, despite a poor performance on Weds I pulled it back, then enjoyed a fantastic skate with some of the league in the local park. I topped that off by, with the help of one of the experienced members of the team, choosing my derby name – Rita Skate Worth – which finished off a slightly crazy, but brilliant week.

As you can probably imagine I’m in quite a positive place now, next week I’m off LARPing although I have to confess not massively looking forward to it. The weather forecast is poor and I burnt myself out in the mud last event, so bit worried same might happen again.


Week 57 – Day 3 : Battle Lines are drawn.

Published March 25, 2015 by Katier Scott

So following my appointment with Dr Shetti last week he was happy to refer me for surgery.. Indeed he was basically happy to before I walked through the door and what I told him probably only re-enforced an already strong opinion. With my new sport of Roller Derby (see the Ditzy Roller Girl ) I ticked a box for myself that I hadn’t been asked to by the GIC, but of course Shetti would see that as a positive. He then encouraged me to write a letter of complaint to Porterbrook as their insistence that I get my second surgery referral from Leeds GIC with the associated delays that causes was something that he agreed, in my case, was causing major non-clinical delays.

When Dr Shetti initially told me, via the phone, I’d done some research and it soon became clear that, unbeknown to me, Porterbrook had mishandled my case. Various guidelines on the NHS website stipulate a series of conditions which weren’t met by Porterbrook.

Firstly when I arrived their, they insisted on doing a full re-assessment of 4 appointments. Not only was this assessment wrong as they should have taken the assessment that I was Gender Dysphoric from CHX and thus simply taken on board that they said I needed T-blockers after 3 months if the bloods hadn’t seen a particular level. In the event it took 4 months or more for me to finally get T-blockers.

Secondly they I was told they wouldn’t refer until (depending on which appointment I had) I was on hormones for 12 months or they had been seeing me for 12 months – the former is right on some guidelines although I think the real condition is “Surgery won’t happen until you’ve been on hormones for 12 months, however you can be referred once you’ve been living full time for 12 months” – either way they should have been referring me in February, not ‘still waiting’.

All this means there have been, and continue to be, some major non-clinical delays in my treatment, and it turns out that makes things strong in my case. In one of the guidelines which can be found on NHS Policy Guidelines the case of Watts v. Bedford Primary Care Trust & Secretary of State for Health is mentioned, and essentially because any delays from this point forward are non-clinical.

So we’ll see what happens, ultimately if Porterbrook stick to their guns I’m in a worst case scenario so nothing to loose by fighting it. I’ll start with the letter to Porterbrook and go from there and then use other complaint lines such as PALS if needed.

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 27, Day 2: Needing a day off!

Published August 26, 2014 by Katier Scott

This weeks blog is a day late as I spent yesterday at Oulton Park as a Marshal for the Gold Cup. What an amazing event, despite the weather, with a wide variety of cars on track. The highlights for me were seeing double BTCC champion, John Cleland, racing in the super tourers in a car he raced back in BTCC days, seeing him come full chat over the crest at Druids was amazing. But I think that was eclipsed by the penultimate race which featured F5000 cars going full chat in the rain – the noise bouncing off the tree’s at Warwick bridge was amazing and the two lead cars just looked crazy as they barrelled down the undulating straight flat out at well over 100mph through the spray – unforgettable sight!!

Transition wise things are ticking along, boobs are slooowly growing and still remind me of it everytime I go to bed – yep I still sleep on my front; or at least try to!!

I’ve got my latest appointment at Sheffield which highlights just how good they are once in the system compared to Charing Cross. At Charing Cross I had 2 appointments seperated by over 6 months, Sheffields appointment in late September is less than 4 months after the first in very early June!!

September is still looking fairly busy although I’m having next weekend off as I need it after such a bonkers July and August. Might give me a chance to put some serious guitar practice in :).





Week 8 Day 2 – Moving on up.. more piercings.. kids.. and microboobs.

Published April 15, 2014 by Katier Scott

Well the life of the Hormonal Woman sure isn’t slowing down.. but neither is the life of my friends. One of my best friends, and flat mate, is busily packing as I type this because she has a fantastic job opportunity in Scotland so is doing a month trial prior to moving there permanently if everything goes to plan.

I’m so pleased for her as she has worked so hard, and is the consummate professional, in all she does especially in her professional work.

Last week I mentioned piercings and I’m now up to 11 as my intended Tragus piercing turned into a double Tragus. I’d not even considered a double which shows why going to a top quality piercer is so worth while. I love the balance my piercings have and when the Rooks are healed enough to change the jewellery then they will have double concentric, seamless, rings. Should look really pretty when it’s all done.

My new job went really well in it’s first week and alongside my flat mate, I bumped into another friend in town the other day who told me she had god a new job – so new jobs seem flavour of the month. Just need my other flat mate to get a bit of luck and get the job he deserves.

On the transition front it’s a little bit of more of the same, my boobs are definitely growing and skin softer but nothing more I’ve noticed. At the weekend I met up with lots of family and some old family friends to celebrate my parents 70th’s (they were born 7 months apart) and had a fantastic time.

Funniest bit was waving and smiling across the room at an old family friend who looked at me and I could see her brain whirring into action before she worked out who I was. She knew I was transitioning and there was far from any problem, but of course I looked different with makeup, a nice dress and long hair, so it took her a moment to realise who I was.

Was fantastic to meet up with the old family friends as many I’d not seen for possibly as much as 5-10 years but they were all completely accepting and we just chatted and caught up. They were interested in the transition of course but purely from a curiosity and learning point of view – which is fine by me!!

The second moment that made me smile was my lovely eldest Niece who, back in January when visiting my sister and her family, apparently asked my sister whether I was a ‘man or a woman’. The Neice is 5 years old and obviously the confusion is understandable, but fair play to my sister she didn’t sugar coat it and simply said “She was a man but is now a woman”.. from that moment on she simply refers to me in the female context.

Which caused a moment of confusion during a casual conversation at the dinner table because my family do still often use the wrong pronouns – which doesn’t bother me because it takes time and they are doing it out of forgetfulness and habit NOT out of lack of acceptance.

My mum said ‘He’ referring to me and my Neice (I’m keeping this blog anonymous for everyone you might notice) was clearly confused because she thought mum was referring to me.. but I’m a ‘she’ to her – mum bless her corrected herself..

But the purpose of this story is the proof that of all people kids, especially young ones, are very accepting and as such if your reading this blog and are in the situation of interacting with a trans person, say in a school environment, don’t worry – your kids will be fine, they just see people as what they are told they are and that’s the end of that.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a number of 4-9 year old children in different situations and to a person they just accepted and treated me the same as all the other adults, and indeed generally got on with me so well as an adult who taught them interesting arts and crafts that they were disappointed when I left and asked when I’d be back.

Speaking of GIC’s I’ve now switched from Charing Cross to Sheffield and have my next appointment next month – around 5 months after my previous appointment. Considering Charing Cross’s normal appointment ‘gap’ is 6 months, and in 5 months I’ve changed clinics AND got an appointment.. that’s rather pleasing to say the least.

I managed to get the change because Sheffield omitted to take me off their waiting lists and by the time I reached the head of the queue I was lucky that the funding rules have changed. As such I was able to make the change with no fuss, and it is in theory a change anyone else can make – although most clinics have long waiting times – Sheffield is around 2 years, Charing Cross and Leeds, around a year to 18 months.. etc.

If you are on the queue to one GIC and they are giving you a years wait, however, I’d highly recommend phoning the GIC’s and see if you have a better option as by switching to one which is currently running shorter waiting times will help balance the patient base in the long term.