Update from the Welsh Gender Service

Since our last update, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has been continuing the fight against COVID-19 but at the same time, we have been innovating to mitigate and reduce the impact the pandemic had, and will have, on services.

We appreciate that this has been a difficult time for staff and patients and our aim is to provide safe and effective care to our population.

We want to continue to remind you that the Welsh Gender Service is still available to patients but in an alternative way for the time being.

Due to the changing and evolving government advice, guidelines and safety measures, as well as national and local restrictions, we have implemented virtual appointments to ensure medical and psychological support can continue.

We accept that many people would prefer face-to-face contact, but whilst restrictions are in place, introduced to protect both patients and staff, remote consultation offers an alternative to ensure patients are still able to access the service.

We recognise that remote consultation has limitations and may be particularly difficult for some people. Accepting a remote consultation is optional and you may choose to wait for a face-to-face consultation, but unfortunately, we are unable to say when this will be possible as we need to work within government and public health guidelines for the safety of everyone.

If you are waiting for your first appointment with the Welsh Gender Service, although your original waiting time will have unfortunately been extended, we are working hard to increase the number of virtual appointments.  We have also recruited new clinicians to further increase capacity to meet the ever-growing demand.  We are publishing the current wait times and referral month information on www.gender.wales.

We will soon be sending a letter to everyone on the waiting list to confirm the referral date we have on the system.  We are requesting that everyone checks this date and contacts Clinic if they feel this, or any of their information is incorrect.

We are also aware that some people may have had difficulty getting an appointment with a GP during restrictions, but most GPs are now able to conduct telephone or video consultations and are still open to provide care for patients.

If you have not yet been referred to the WGS by your GP, you should still be able to request this in most circumstances, but if you are concerned, please contact XIST staff who can guide and support you through the process.

During this time, we have been contacting people we have seen to make sure they are getting access to what they need, including treatment, blood monitoring and therapy if required.

We want to make sure that anyone who started treatment can continue to do so in the safest way possible, therefore we have continued to work closely with Local Health Boards, Local Gender Teams and GPs to make sure support and treatment is available.

Technology continues to be vital in almost every aspect of life since COVID-19 hit, and health services have been no different.  We are planning to continue to offer virtual appointments as this has been a very useful method to drive efficiencies and increase capacity.  We also know that this will reduce travel time and costs, as well as our carbon footprint.

We are now offering virtual appointments for initial appointments, follow-up and therapy.

XIST staff at Umbrella Cymru have been contacting as many people as possible to offer immediate support and are continuing to offer support by phone, video-call, instant messaging, and live chat running on both websites.

If you would like to discuss clinical matters, you can contact the clinic directly:

Email:             cav.wgs_enquiries@wales.nhs.uk

Phone:           02921 836 612 (Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm)

If you would like to discuss support in relation to a referral to the WGS, would like support whilst on the waiting list, or feel you need some additional support at this time, you can contact XIST staff at Umbrella Cymru by:

Phone:           0300 302 3670 (Mon-Fri – 10.30am – 7pm)

Text:               07520 645 700

Email:             xist@gender.wales

Live Chat:      www.gender.wales (12 – 7pm – 7 days a week)

Umbrella Cymru have created a mailing list for anyone who would like to receive updates about the Welsh Gender Service by text or email.  To sign up, click on the Mailing List button at the top of the site or click HERE.