How long is the wait for a first appointment at GIDS?
We are aware that the time young people have to wait for a first appointment here at GIDS is long. We are doing all we can to address this.
These longer waiting times come after a large increase in the number of referrals to our service over the past few years.
We know that it is frustrating not to have a firm figure for how long you might have to wait, but waiting times can change. We might mislead people if we try to be too precise about future waiting times.
We know that for the year starting 1 April 2019 and finishing on 31 March 2020, the average (median) waiting time, from GIDS receiving the referral to a first appointment, was 558 days or around 18 months.
(This figure was generated on 20 April 2020 by our electronic patient record system. It was correct at the time of generation, but subject to change in future.)
Here are some things that can affect waiting times:
- The length of time we see each young person will vary in length, depending on individual circumstances, and can also involve work with other teams local to the young person.
- The number of people not attending appointments, or cancelling at short notice. This can have a big impact on the waiting list and the number of appointments we can offer.
- When clinicians leave GIDS, it can take several months to recruit and train new staff.
- When we refer young people from GIDS to an adult gender service, it is not easy to say when they will be offered an appointment, and so when their care will be fully transferred.
Because these factors can be hard to predict, the waiting time we quote when people enquire may unfortunately increase over time as well as go down.
We have taken a number of steps to try to bring down the waiting time for a first appointment. For example, we screen all referrals with great care to be sure they are appropriate. We also contact people on the waiting list before their first meeting, to try to reduce the number of appointments that are cancelled at short notice or where the young person and family do not attend.