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Updates from the Welsh Gender Service

Update from the Welsh Gender Service, November 2020

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 has, 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.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the service?

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.

What does this mean for the waiting list?

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.

Are you having difficulties accessing your GP?

We are 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.

What does this mean if you have been seen by the WGS or you have already started treatment?

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.

What is being done to plan for the future?

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.

What additional support is available?

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. 

How can you contact us?

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 9:00 am – 5:00 pm)

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 – 10.30 am – 7:00 pm)

Text:                07520 645 700 

Email:             xist@gender.wales

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

Want to stay up to date?

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, please visit www.gender.wales/mailing-list

Update from the Welsh Gender Service 21 May 2020

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has been working on the fight against COVID-19 and unfortunately some of our services and clinics had to be put on hold to protect patients and redeploy staff to alternative areas.

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 apologise for the delay in providing an update during these times and we appreciate your patience and thank you for your continued support at this time. 

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

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the service?

Due to the government advice regarding social distancing and people remaining at home we are currently unable to offer face-to-face consultations but we can provide medical and psychological support through remote consultation such as phone or video-calling.

We accept that many people would prefer face-to-face contact but until social distancing restrictions introduced to protect both patients and staff can be relaxed, 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 in line with government and public health advice for the safety of everyone.

What does this mean for the waiting list?

If you are waiting for your first appointment with the Welsh Gender Service, your waiting time will unfortunately be extended due to the impact of COVID-19 on services.

We are sure you will appreciate that this has been completely out of our control and we will be working to minimise any further delays to the waiting times as much as we possibly can.

We are also aware that some people may have had difficulty getting an appointment with a GP but many 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.

What does this mean if you have been seen by the WGS or you have already started treatment?

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 been working closely with Local Health Boards, Local Gender Teams and GPs to make sure support and treatment is available.

Therapy appointments if required, for those who have already had an initial appointment at the Cardiff Clinic have continued by phone.  This has been a great opportunity to speak to more people and offer more appointments at such a difficult time.

We have also recruited into the vacant Gender Specialist role which will add capacity to increase the number of appointments we can offer as soon as we are able.

What is being done to plan for the future?

Technology has become increasingly important in almost every aspect of life since COVID-19 hit and health services have been no different.

Although technological methods can be great, we also want to make sure they are safe and secure for everyone to use.  That is why we are currently testing a new secure platform being developed for the NHS.  We hope that this will increase capacity, reduce travel time and costs and allow for more appointments to take place going forward.

We are currently using video-calling for follow-up appointments but want to extend this to initial appointments as soon as we are confident that we have a safe and user-friendly way to do so.  Again, we appreciate your patience while we make sure we get this right.

What additional support is available?

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

We are also recruiting additional staff to the team to increase the number of people we can contact and support while in lockdown and for as long as we can beyond it.

How can you contact us?

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 (Mon-Fri – 1-10pm, Sat-Sun – 1-8pm)

 

Welsh Gender Service Referral Update – January 2020

We have recently sent letters from the Welsh Gender Service (WGS) to inform patients of their referral date and location of future appointments. It has come to our attention that there are discrepancies in the information included in some of the letters.

We have updated the information for those patients that have been in touch, however there may be others that are yet to let us know. If you have any concerns around your referral date please contact The Cardiff Clinic on 029 2183 6612 or email CAV.WGS_Enquiries@wales.nhs.uk.  We will be happy to check and confirm the information for you.

If you believe that the referral date on your letter is incorrect for any other reason (e.g. you think you were referred by your GP on a different date), please also contact us to discuss this at the earliest opportunity and we will advise you on the steps to take to find evidence of your original referral date.  Once we have confirmation of when your referral was made, we will adjust the date accordingly.  The XIST staff at Umbrella Cymru can help you with this; you can reach the team on the phone on 0300 3023670 or by email at xist@gender.wales

We sincerely apologise for any confusion the letters might have caused, and we’d like to let everyone know that we’re working hard to correct any inaccurate information and offer support to anyone currently on the waiting list for London or Cardiff. 

Thank you for your patience while we are continuing to develop this service for Wales.

If you would like to access support whilst on the waiting list, you can request a call to discuss this and update your details by visiting www.umbrellacymru.co.uk/wgs and clicking the “Update my details” button.  Please note that we have already received a high number of requests, so please allow some time for us to get back to everyone.

If you have already completed this form online and have NOT changed your GP since your original referral, you will NOT need to complete or return the forms sent with your letter.

If you have already completed this form online and you HAVE changed your GP since your original referral was made, please complete the form again to include your current and previous GP details, OR complete the change of details form sent with your letter and return it to the WGS.

If you have NOT already completed this online form, you can use it to update your contact details, provide current and previous GP details AND request contact from Umbrella Cymru all at the same time.  If you choose to do this, you would NOT need to return either of the forms included with the letter.

If you would prefer NOT to complete the online form, please complete the paper forms sent with your letter and return to the WGS.

New Logo for Welsh Gender Service 

The Welsh Gender Service is excited to unveil its new logo. The design was developed with input from members of the community and we love how it looks and its subtle nod to the NHS knot.

 

WGS logo

 

Keep an eye out for this on our materials and patient letters.

Liaising with other GICs

Staff from the Welsh Gender Team have been liaising with other Gender Identity Clinics across the UK to find out how they deliver their services and to share best practice. Members of the team will be attending clinics in London and Leeds in the next week to meet the staff and find out more about the services delivered to patients in these areas. The team are excited to visit these areas and meet the staff and we will provide updates to you on how they have found their visits and what they have taken away.

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