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NewsHealthScots GP expands Gender Clinic with two new trainee specialists

Scots GP expands Gender Clinic with two new trainee specialists

A SCOTS GP is expanding its Gender Clinic with the addition of two new trainee Gender Specialists to the team.

Edinburgh’s YourGP say that as awareness of the trans community has grown and more, people have become more open to gender identity, and demand for gender services has increased dramatically.

The private medical practice has revealed the new additions to the team alongside the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The new highly qualified team members, Dr Sandra Vracar and Dr Pramya Mahendra, join the existing members of the YourGP Gender Clinic – GPs and Gender Specialists Dr Chin Chong and Dr Melanie Grundy.

YourGP Gender Clinic GPs and trainees.
GP and Gender Specialists Dr Melanie Grundy (L) and Dr Chin Chong (R) are joined by new trainees Dr Sandra Vracar and Dr Pramya Mahendra.

Thanks to these new additions, YourGP has increased its number of clinic sessions and is now able to offer gender consultations within as little as just two weeks.

Earlier this month it was widely reported that transgender and gender-diverse people are having to wait up to five years for their first NHS gender clinic appointment.

The reasons listed are the increased demand for the services, as well as the substantial knock-on effects of the pandemic. 

Speaking about the increased awareness of gender identity issues, Dr Sandra Vracar comments: “People are becoming more aware of the trans community and are more open to exploring their own orientation and gender identity, which is wonderful to see.

“I often overhear local high school students discussing LGBTQIA issues, which definitely wasn’t the case when I was in school!

“As such, there is now far greater demand for the service.”

However, the increased demand and resulting longer waiting times can have a hugely negative effect on individuals, as Dr Chin Chong explains: “A lot of my patients say that the wait has been hard on their wellbeing and mental health.

“Putting their transition on hold can have a detrimental effect on their relationships, their work, and their ability to live a happy and fulfilling life.”

Dr Pramya Mahendra expands on the risks associated with the long waiting times saying: “As well as the negative impact on mental health, we have also witnessed an increase in people resorting to DIY hormones which could be potentially dangerous without proper medical support and monitoring.”

All clinical staff at YourGP follow the ‘Standards of Care’ set by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Patients are seen by UK based GPs and are all referred for a second opinion with either a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

YourGP has been working alongside the NHS for many years, providing shared care for a number of transgender patients in addition to providing second opinion assessments. 

The announcement of the expanded Gender Clinic team at YourGP coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia which fell on Tuesday 17th May.

The day was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

For anyone currently experiencing discrimination, or indeed any issues relating to their gender identity, Dr Melanie Grundy advises: “Talk openly and honestly with trusted friends and family, where that is possible.

“Use online or in-person support groups if that feels comfortable for you, or seek support through third sector organisations such as Stonewall, Transgender Alliance or Intercom, or LGBTQ+ groups at colleges or universities.

“The Gender Team here at YourGP are ready to offer you the professional help and support you need, all within a welcoming and understanding environment.”

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