"Waiting time keeps changing"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Gender dysphoria services

(as the patient),

I was referred to the centre by my GP in May 2015. In the acceptance letter from the centre I was told that my approx wait from referral would be 10-12 months but could be subject to change.

I contacted the centre in November, to advise of change of address, and March to advise of change of name. In each case I was told that my wait would now be 13 months, not ideal but livable.

A friend of mine who was referred by her GP in April 2015 had her first appointment in May 2016. When I had not heard anything from the centre by June I rang them and was advised that my wait was now 16 months, which had a devastating effect on my mental state. I was informed that the increased wait was due to excessive demand on the service.

I rang the centre again on 1st July and was informed that my wait was still 16 months.

I rang them again two weeks later to be told that my wait was now 18 months. This had such a devastating effect on me that I was stood on King St in the city centre with tears running down my face.

The reason given again was still excessive demand. I find it very hard to understand how my wait can increase my 2 months in just 2 weeks

What makes this worse is that I've had absolutely zero communication from the centre and have only found out about the increases in my waiting times when I've contacted them.

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Response from Angie Jackson, Interim Community Service Manager, Mental Health Services for Older People, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I am sorry that you are experiencing a long wait for an appointment, unfortunately the demand for our gender services far exceeds our capacity.

When someone is referred for treatment an estimated waiting time is given based on the number of people in the system at that time, this is always subject to change.

When someone is seen for their first appointment they are then given a second appointment for 3 months time, this has the unintended consequence of reducing the number of appointments available for people still waiting, its a phenomenon known as stacking, and this is what leads to an increasing wait.

The lead clinician is very concerned about the long waits for treatment and the service is working with both the comissioners, NHS England. and the Healthcare Trust to try and secure more staff and more clinical space in order to see more patients.

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Update posted by Ashant (the patient)

I'm sorry but I fail to understand how you can possibly have had sufficient new referrals to make the wait of someone close to the top of the list increase by 2 months in just 2 weeks.

I feel like you are holding my life in your hands. I am currently in limbo and my mental state is deteriorating on a daily basis. At present rate of increase I can not see how I will ever get to the centre nor can I see any realistic end to this torment

Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

I was so sorry to read your story which I can see is very frustrating for you. Waiting times are stressful and the system of 'stacking' makes things even more difficult.

Your last statement concerns me. I can only suggest that you go to see your GP again if you feel that you are deteriorating and explain how this is affecting you.

As a member of the Involvement Team, my role is non-clinical across the whole Trust. We encourage people to share their feedback and I am glad to see you have chosen to share it with us on Patient Opinion. This is one of the ways we can improve services and we reply to all feedback and share it with the people in our Trust who need to read it.

Please be reassured that we do care about the long wait you are experiencing and by leaving your feedback you are helping commissioners, NHS England and the Trust to direct their funds to the services that are most in need.

Thank you


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