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Betsi slammed for sex change blunder; PATIENT WAITING YEAR FOR OP HADN'T EVEN BEEN REFERRED.

Byline: GARETH HUGHES

A BLUNDER which saw a patient waiting in vain for gender realignment surgery they had never even been referred for has prompted a call for health chiefs to review their sex change procedures.

The person had been waiting for more than 12 months, expecting a procedure that had not been scheduled.

A consultant had confirmed the patient had gender dysphoria, and a psychiatrist noted they wanted to be referred to the Gender Identity Clinic to discuss hormone and surgery options. But when the patient's GP asked a year later whether the referral had been made, the doctor found it had not.

Funding for the treatment was authorised in January 2017, but the patient then learned the wait would be up to 13 months.

The patient was left "crushed" by the news, with matters made worse by the fact that when the clinical director of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board wrote to the Gender Identity Clinic asking for the appointment to be expedited, they got no reply.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said there had been a "clear injustice".

Figures published by Betsi Cadwaladr in July this year detailed there had been 51 initial referrals for people found to be suffering gender dysphoria since June 2016, when the health board began keeping records.

Of those, nine were refused further referrals after the initial reviews, and none of them appealed the decision.

Investigating officer Maureen Campbell-Taylor said: "I have concluded that the failings, which led to proper administrative processes in terms of the initial referral not being followed, amounted to maladministration."

She also found shortcomings in the handling of the complaint, which she said had been both "lacking in clarity and muddled", saying it was unclear whether any failings have been learned from by the health board.

The board's chief executive, Gary Doherty, has apologised and the patient is to receive PS750 for the distress caused and PS250 for the shortcomings in handling the complaint.

The ombudsman report concluded: "If it has not already done so, the health board should seek to identify whether other transgender patients may have been similarly affected by the psychiatrist not following the correct referral pathway."

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
Words:363
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