For the past five years the Diversity Trust has been researching the health needs of LGBT+ people and has found evidence to support national findings on Trans experiences. To continue this work we are please to announce that we are working with the Local Healthwatch across Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to identify the specific needs of local Trans people. Throughout the project we will gather local anecdotes, and patient experiences, from Trans people to feedback to local NHS health service commissioners and providers and to our local Healthwatch.

Berkeley Wilde, Director of the Diversity Trust said: “We are delighted to be able to make this announcement and to be able to continue our work investigating health inequalities experienced by local LGBT communities.”

Cheryl Morgan, Director of the Diversity Trust, and Trans lead said: “As a trans woman I know just how badly this work is needed. I’m
very grateful to Healthwatch for their support, and delighted that this project will involve trans people at every stage of it’s design and delivery.”

Morgan Daly, Director of Communities at the Care Forum said: “The Care Forum is committed to reaching out to as wide a range of local people as possible. We are delighted to be able to work with the Diversity Trust again, in order to better understand the health needs of trans people. We believe that everyone in society deserves NHS services that are responsive to them and that are tailored to their individual needs. We look forward to reading the research findings, and working with local decision-makers to ensure that any learning is embedded into how services work in future.”

Emma Cooper, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Wiltshire, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Diversity Trust, who are a recognised specialist in this field. We are interested in the health experiences of everyone in the county, including groups of people such as the transgender community, who we can find harder to reach. We will be very interested in the report’s findings and will be feeding the results back to the groups and organisations who plan and shape our health care services in the county.”

Eileen Jacques, Chief Officer from Healthwatch North Somerset said: ‘This is an important piece of work which seeks to identify the health inequalities experienced by the local transgender community. Healthwatch North Somerset is very pleased to support the project.’

National Picture of Trans Health

January 2016 saw the first ever inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee centred around Transgender Equality in the UK; inviting submissions from individuals and organisations. Their report stated 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.”

Many Trans people are increasingly self-medicating and turning to the internet for access to information and treatment. In October 2013 the Royal College of Psychiatrists concluded in their good practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adults with gender dysphoria.
“Patients frequently find it difficult to confide their feelings of gender dysphoria to their GP, often because it is the family GP or practice, and fear of ridicule, guilt or shame as well as other pressing social factors prevent them from seeking help and treatment. These factors and the anticipated delay in obtaining treatment on the NHS have led to increasing numbers of people self-medicating. Hormones and hormone-blockers are readily available via the internet.”

Many Trans people experience high levels of mental health: anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts. The Trans Mental Health Study published in 2012 (McNeil et al, 2012) found:

  • 53% had self-harmed, almost half of those daily at some point
  • 84% had suicidal ideation at some point, 48% had attempted suicide, 33% more than once

Programme Principles

Transgender people will be involved in every aspect of the research, design and delivery

  • We will work with researchers from a local University on research design
  • We have a gender identity specialist, from Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, joining the programme steering group
  • We are well known, and respected, within the local health service community
  • We are an LGBT+ community-led and community-based organisation
  • We have direct access into local Trans community groups and organisations