The Strand Medical Centre hosts the Sefton transgender service known as Trans Health Sefton.
This service was set up in 2017 to provide medical help and support for people of all ages whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth.
Why is this service needed?
Across the country, trans people generally experience poorer healthcare than the wider population, which can mean significant risks to their health and wellbeing. Many health professionals don’t have the relevant knowledge or experience to achieve the best access and outcomes for trans patients.
Who can be referred and how?
To access this service you have to be registered with a Sefton GP and be living in the South Sefton or Southport and Formby areas. Patients of all ages can be referred to Trans Health Sefton by other health care professionals such as their GP or they can self-refer by contacting the practice and filling out a short self-referral form either in person or over the phone.
What happens after referral?
Your referral will be looked at by one of the doctors and you will be given an appointment – normally within 10 weeks of the referral but often much sooner, within just a few weeks.
Your initial appointment will be with one of the GPs in the service; Dr Anna Hunter or Dr Katie Wilson, both local GPs with more than two decades experience between them working with local patients.
Who is the clinic for?
This clinic sees a wide range of people:
- Those questioning their gender identity who would like further information or help to manage their feelings
- Those who consider themselves to be trans male or female, gender neutral, gender queer, non-binary or otherwise gender variant, but who have not previously sought formal medical help
- Those with an established diagnosis of gender incongruence or gender dysphoria, many of whom may already have had some form of medical and/or surgical treatment
What can Trans Health Sefton do for me?
Trans Health Sefton can provide support and assistance in a number of ways following an assessment process:
- General supportive advice and onward referral or signposting to other agencies such as Gender Identity Clinics, speech therapy and gender based psychotherapy
- Care planning for those patients who require this
- Help with administration such as making a legal name change, change of gender on medical records and other official documents such as a passport
- Following an assessment process and input from a specialist, bridging hormone therapy can be initiated in some individuals
- Regular prescribing administering and monitoring of hormone therapy for those people who are established on this by Trans Health Sefton or other agencies
- Support and guidance on the implications of a change of gender for patients and their relatives
Does Trans Health Sefton work with other organisations to help and support trans people?
Trans Health Sefton works closely with:
- A local Consultant in Endocrinology who specialises in hormone therapy for Trans people
- The Trans Support Service - a service to support local transgender and gender nonconforming people who may be experiencing distress in relation to their gender by listening to them, informing them of available options to relieve their gender distress, and empowering them to move forward with their lives
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs)
- Speech Therapy at various local hospitals
- Local charitable organisations providing support for trans people such as In-Trust Merseyside
- National Gender Services, sometimes known as Gender Identity Clinics (GICs)
- A number of local support groups for Trans patients
- CMAGIC – The Cheshire and Merseyside Adult Gender Identity Collaborative, a partnership of clinicians, commissioners, providers and service users involved in the support and care of transgender and non-binary individuals within Cheshire and Merseyside who provide NHS Commissioned gender dysphoria services located within the primary care and sexual health settings
What do people say about Trans Health Sefton?
Here are a few comments that have been made about our service:
- From one of our adult patients: “Trans health Sefton is a very useful service, it allows me to get access to the services I need without having to travel all the way to London. Dr Hunter is very helpful and provides a great service.”
- From another patient: “After 5 or 6 years when my GP was not able to help…I now have the best care…. The clinic has very friendly staff, the appointment wasn't cancelled even during the Covid lockdown, I don't think that I can imagine better care!”
- “thank you for believing in me and setting me free and for all the funding and treatment I get, I am truly grateful ...you’re amazing thank you so much!”
- From the mum of one of our young patients: “Thank you so much for our meeting a few weeks ago. It means so much to know that someone in your position cares and has so much knowledge and understanding.”
- Anthony Griffin, chair of In-Trust Merseyside, who played a key role in the design of the service, said: “As chair of the local Sefton group In-Trust Merseyside I know that the trans community will be looked after by clinical staff who truly understand the barriers that trans people face when they engage with the NHS.”
Trans Health Sefton was the winner in the Primary Care Innovation category of the National Healthcare Transformation Awards, hosted by NHS Clinical Commissioners and Health + Care in June 2019
Our assessment and treatment pathways have been adopted in 2020 as a national pilot for gender identity clinics, part of NHS England’s specialised commissioning for transgender services