We are very pleased that the contracts providing for gender reassignment surgery to trans people in Scotland have been awarded.
What does this mean?
When the Gender Reassignment Protocol was being developed NHS Boards in Scotland agreed that gender reassignment surgery covered by the Protocol would be commissioned by NHS National Services Division (NSD).
Some months ago NSD put out a call asking service providers across the UK to bid to provide these services to Scottish patients.
Having assessed the bids NSD has now awarded the following contracts:
- Genital surgery for trans women to the Nuffield Hospital in Brighton
- Genital surgery for trans men to St Peter’s Andrology Centre in London
- Chest reconstruction/top surgery for trans men to Manchester NHS Trust
The contracts will be in place for 3 years with the option of them being extended for a further year.
When do the contracts start?
The contracts will come into effect on the 1st of October 2013 but NSD still needs to work out the details of the agreements, such as referral and discharge pathways. The service providers should be ready to accept referrals from Scotland by the 1st of November this year.
What if I already have a referral?
People who have been approved for genital surgery before the 1st of October will still have their surgery funded and organised by their local NHS Board.
If trans men have been approved for chest reconstruction/top surgery before the 1st of October they will continue to be funded by NSD under the existing agreement allowing treatment to be funded in English NHS hospitals.
What difference will this make?
As surgeries will be centrally organised and overseen it is hoped that there will be many improvements to the service trans people receive. One of the main aims is to reduce the waiting time for surgery provided under these contracts.
NSD want to ensure that service providers communicate better with trans people so that they feel more informed about their referral and the surgery they are going to have.
The new commissioning system should also ensure that patients receive improved post-operative care. Specific quality standards must be met by service providers under the new contracts and NSD will monitor standards carefully to make sure trans people receive the appropriate level of care and service.
For further details see the announcement from NHS National Services Division here