Sheffield Central GE2019 Candidates' policies on transgender healthcare
Published 2019-12-06 19:13:02.898895 UTC
In the run up to the general election, it's important to know if the people you can vote for share the same views on important issues as you. Unfortunately for me, nobody in the Sheffield Central constituency has explicit policies relating to transgender people in their manifestos. In fact, the only mention of "transgender" I could find was the Labour candidate spelling out the LGBT acronym.
This was rather disappointing, especially since Sheffield Central is home to the Porterbrook Gender Identity Clinic, one of a few in the country. To remedy this, I took it upon myself to email each of the four major candidates (for Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, and Greens) to see what they had to say on the issue. Beneath is my original query, followed by their responses in chronological order.
"One of the largest problems transgender people are facing right now is rapidly growing wait times to accessing healthcare. In Sheffield's own NHS Gender Identity Clinic, the waiting times have gone from 50 weeks to 85 weeks in the last year officially, but are up to 105 weeks according to one patient, not including a mandatory 26 week wait after initial consultations. Clearly this system is failing transgender people.
Can you please share your official stance on this issue, including if you have any national or local policies you would endorse to address it?
Otherwise, are there any other ways in which you intend to appeal to transgender voters?"
Janice Silvester - Conservatives
Thank you for your email and efforts in this matter.
Having received high volumes of emails on a variety of topics this is the first of this nature and indeed topic.
Looking at the significant investment of £34bn into the NHS Plan I would only be able to surmise at this point that there would be some benefit for the specifics you mention.
As I am not in a position to respond specifically to your query regarding the wait times at the Gender Identity Clinic just now, I can share with you what the manifesto states;
We will support marginalized communities in the developing world, hosting the UK government’s first ever international LGBT conference.
We will protect people from physical attack or harassment whether for their sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, and expand funding for and protect places of worship. We will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people.
With very best wishes,
Conservative Candidate for Sheffield Central
Paul Blomfield - Labour
Thanks for writing to me about trans peoples’ access to healthcare, [newsletter promotion omitted]. I agree that there is a serious issue with access to healthcare for trans people, and the waiting times you cite in your email are far too long. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee found in 2015 that “the NHS is letting down trans people, with too much evidence of an approach that can be said to be discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act” and I am concerned that the situation has only got worse since then. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated problem, as waiting times for many NHS services like A&E and cancer are at a record high.
By increasing expenditure across the health sector by an average 4.3% a year, Labour will give patients the modern, well-resourced services they need. I am proud of the Labour Party’s record on equality legislation, including the repeal of Section 28 and the introduction of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. Our manifesto commits to “ensuring all [NHS]* services are made accessible to BAME, LGBT+ and disabled patients”; “reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people” and bringing about the “the culture shift required to make LGBT+ inclusivity a reality.”
Thanks again for writing, you can read more details about all Labour’s policies in our manifesto.
With best wishes
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Sheffield Central
*their brackets, not mine.
Alison Teal - Green
Thank you for your email.
I think it's imperative that NHS Gender Identity Clinic waiting times are reduced, and extra funding should be directed towards employment of more mental health professionals to provide support to people experiencing Gender dysphoria. The Green Party manifesto makes specific mention of LGBTQI+ people require increased resources through the NHS. Overall funding for NHS would increase by £6 billion per year for 10 years.
Best wishes, Alison
Colin Ross - Lib Dems
Not yet responded.