C:\Users\David\Downloads\Penarth teenager Rowan has waited two years to see a specialist - and still has no appointment (Image BBC Wales)

Penarth teenager Rowan has waited two years to see a specialist – and still has no appointment (Image BBC Wales)

It’s emerged that a 17-year-old transgender teenager from Penarth has now been kept waiting for 2 years for a referral to a National Health Service gender identity specialist …and has still not received an appointment.

The case has highlighted  what campaigners say is a lack of provision for the care of such patients in Wales where reportedly some cases are kept a  queue for up to 4 years before receiving a consultation.

Because the teenager – Rowan (who’s aged 17) –  has yet to be seen by a specialist she cannot be prescribed the hormone drugs required to treat her condition.

Ceri Lambert

Rowan’s mother Ceri Lambert

Her mother –  Ceri Lambert –  has told BBC Wales that her daughter’s prolonged wait to see a specialist is  “heartbreaking” and said she has even considered buying hormone treatments on the internet for her daughter .

She says “If you’re willing to pay and you don’t ask too many questions about where they come from, a lot of people go down that route. You see your child in that much distress and nothing is happening, and you feel utterly helpless.  She admits “Yes, I was on-line thinking  ‘should I do this for my child?'”

Unlike the NHS in England, there is no Gender Identity Clinic in Wales. Welsh patients are normally referred to the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust in London instead of having a local consultation. Campaigners say that not only are Welsh patients having to wait a long time for appointments, but they are also being prescribed anti-depressants in the meantime.

In its draft budget announced last week the Welsh Government  promised £1,000,000 in extra funding to improve support for patients on this side of Offa’s Dyke to set up“gender identity” clinics and  for “eating disorder” clinics in Wales and claims to be developing what it calls “a  gender identity care pathway” which would include guidance for healthcare practitioners.

The Welsh Government says “The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee is to ensure trans people and NHS providers are clear on what services should be available”


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  1. Penileaks says:

    No doubt I will get criticised extensively for this comment, but surely the provision of A&E services and treatment for life threatening conditions and diseases within our excellent NHS, is more important than a expenditure for this type of ‘condition’ ?
    The NHS is apparently struggling for sufficient funding as it is, mind you, having said that, my memories of working in Llandough Hospital, were of year on year increases in management positions, including one for bed counting at £20k plus per year !
    Cuts needed both end methinks……………………….

  2. Martin Coffee says:

    NHS funding in the UK is sadly lacking for children and teenagers in many medical disciplines. Any right minded person should be appalled that Rowan has not seen a specialist after two years. I cannot imagine how distressing this must be for them.
    Hopefully the publicity will result in some action.

  3. Paul says:

    These days it appears that gender is a state of mind.
    To my mind, she looks nothing like a boy….

  4. Ceri Lambert says:

    I think it’s right that the subject of cost is brought up as it’s probably not well understood for this medically recognised condition.

    Study after study across the world has shown that providing early and comprehensive care to transgender individuals who wish to medically transition is far more cost-effective than not treating them. The cost of treating depression, anxiety, self-harm and attempted suicide in untreated and unsupported gender variant people by far outstrips the cost of a care package and assistance. There are also hidden costs to the economy of ‘non treatment’ such as days missed from work due to depression/anxiety, benefits when depression is so severe that the person can’t work, the cost of treatment and police intervention if a transgender person is the victim of a transphobic assault. And so on, and so on…

    Row is unlikely to get an initial appointment at a Gender Identity Clinic for another 2 years – a total 4 year wait. When she finally gets an NHS prescription for hormones it’ll cost around £10 per month. That’s strikes me as a bargain to ensure that a person can be a healthy, happy, productive person who’s comfortable in their own skin.

    In the mean-time Row’s friends and family are committed to supporting her and doing all we can to make sure she knows she’s loved and accepted for the brave and amazing person that she is. It has taken incredible bravery for someone young to speak out about this, and we’re very proud of her.

    • Ralf says:

      Nice to see a sensitive and informed comment – not something you see very often on this site as the comments above will testify

Comments are closed.