Meet the man behind Nottinghams ‘amazing’ transgender clinic with a three-year waiting list – Nottinghamshire Live

Posted: October 4, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Dr Derek Glidden and the team at Nottinghams transgender clinic have had a tough few months navigating the coronavirus pandemic while managing one of the longest waiting lists in the NHS.

Clinical lead Dr Glidden, who works at the Hockley-based centre, explained how the clinic has managed to keep operating its much-needed service in a world where everything has changed.

The Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health takes referrals from all over the country for people over the age of 17 but a long waiting list means people are currently waiting around three years for an initial appointment.

Keen not to add to the growing list, Dr Glidden and the team were faced with a huge challenge in March to keep the service going without seeing patients in person.

The clinic, which is the second largest in the UK, receives around 1,000 referrals a year from healthcare professionals.

There is a year-on-year increase in referrals and the centres main priority is to improve access.

Dr Glidden said: Weve been one of few services able to continue to start people on gender-affirming treatments.

Our patients can face inequalities when it comes to transgender healthcare and the waiting lists are not echoed in any other place in the NHS.

For the vast majority of our patients, the treatment is not a want, its a need. Its life-changing treatment for the patients we see.

It was an extremely challenging time but we maintained our much-needed service.

Reflecting on the past few months he said: It was a challenging time but extremely rewarding to work with our amazing staff.

Prior to the pandemic the vast majority of our work was face to face, which then presented huge difficulties with Covid-19.

We are a national clinic so we have patients travelling many hours to see us, often via public transport. Very swiftly we had to find a new way to deliver our service.

Dr Glidden, who has been Clinical Lead since January and has worked at the centre since 2014, said the majority of people were moved on to video consultations.

The centres support service was increased to five days a week.

Currently, 1,400 people are receiving care at the centre and 2,500 people are waiting to be seen.

There is a waiting list which is common to all seven transgender health centres in England, said Dr Glidden.

We tend to be talking about three years, it is our biggest area of concern and one of our clear priorities, he said.

Although gender-affirming surgery was postponed during the pandemic, Dr Glidden said activity levels at the centre were the exact same as pre-Covid times.

He said he is extremely hopeful that surgery can be restarted as soon as possible.

Each persons treatment programme is individualistic but can include cross sex hormone treatment, androgen blockade, voice therapy, facial hair removal, gender-affirming surgery and support.

Dr Glidden said some patients say visibility and acceptance has improved, but others say there are ongoing challenges in healthcare, life and society.

Nat Thorne, a PHD student who works at the Notts Trans Hub, praised the clinic for its work during the pandemic.

But they said long waiting lists have a huge impact on trans people.

Nat, who is currently looking into the mental health of non-binary people with the University of Nottingham and uses data from the transgender clinic, said: It is amazing that they managed to keep appointments going via Zoom as it was a massive worry in the community about the ever-growing waiting list.

It might be at four or five years by now. But everyone at the clinic is great, they are happy, positive people. We want to sing their praises because they are awesome.

Nat, 42, who has published three papers with the university, said there is a lot of nervousness when people first visit the clinic.

But they said: The way trans people have been treated generally isnt brilliant. But people come away from the clinic with a positive attitude, people feel listened to.

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Meet the man behind Nottinghams 'amazing' transgender clinic with a three-year waiting list - Nottinghamshire Live

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