Good Law Project, Gendered Intelligence and four people who have suffered life-altering waits for treatment – including friend of OutNewsGlobal Eva Echo – applied in December 2021 for permission to bring a judicial review against NHS England because of unacceptable delays in accessing trans healthcare.
The six grounds on which the application was made are:
- NHS England has failed, under regulation 45(3) of the 2012 Regulations, to ensure that 92 per cent of trans patients who are referred for medical treatment begin that treatment within18 weeks of referral.
- NHS England has failed, under section 3B of the National Health Service Act 2006, to provide services for children needing puberty blockers that they can access before starting puberty.
- NHS England has failed, under the NHS Constitution, to uphold the rights of adult patients with gender dysphoria to begin treatment within 18 weeks of referral.
- NHS England has unlawfully discriminated against trans people because waiting times for gender-identity services are longer than for the vast majority of other healthcare services.
- NHS England’s decision to introduce and maintain a “Multi-Professional Review Group” as part of puberty-delaying treatment for trans children is unlawfully directly or indirectly discriminatory.
- NHS England has failed to comply with its public-sector equality duty to ensure trans people can access acute services by setting up the Multi-Professional Review Group for trans children and in the arrangements it makes with providers.
This month, Mr Justice Choudhury agreed that all six of these grounds are arguable. The case will now proceed to a full hearing in the High Court. A court date has not yet been set, but it is likely to take place this Autumn.
Cara English, Head of Public Engagement at Gendered Intelligence, said: “We know from first-hand experience – and from working closely with and for the trans community – that the waiting lists for gender healthcare services are proving disastrous to people’s health and wellbeing.
“These illegal waits long predate the pandemic, and are only getting worse as time goes on. We need action, not words. We hope that, through this judicial review, we can help kickstart the proper, timely healthcare for trans and non-binary people that’s needed.”
Jo Maugham, director of Good Law Project, said:“For too long, trans people have faced life-altering – and sometimes life-threatening – waits for specialist NHS healthcare. We believe that these waiting times, and other failures in trans healthcare services, are discriminatory and unlawful.
“This court case will be a vital moment in the fight for healthcare justice for trans and non-binary people. Healthcare should be for everyone.”