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Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service – Patient information leaflet

Information leaflet about the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service which includes who the service is for, what they offer, what happens at appointments and how to access the service.

This leaflet may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • Introduction

    This leaflet provides you with information about the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service (NRGDS).

  • What is the NRGDS?

    The Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service is a service for people who experience persistent confusion and/or discomfort as a result of a discrepancy between their assigned sex and their gender identity. This includes people who want to change physical aspects of their gender as well as those who do not. We understand gender dysphoria as the experience of discomfort or distress which arises as a result of a mismatch between a person’s gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. Each individual might experience gender dysphoria differently and to varying degrees.

  • Who is the NRGDS for?

    The service is available for people over the age of 18 years old, who live in England. Some people who are distressed about their assigned sex have other health problems such as physical disabilities or mental health difficulties. The service is open to all but people with more complex needs may require additional support from other services.

  • How can I be referred to the NRGDS?

    People can be referred to the service via their family doctor/GP, consultant physician or other healthcare professional from anywhere in England. There is a referral form on our website (see next page) which will help your healthcare professional to send all of the relevant information. If someone other than your GP makes a referral to NRGDS for you, then we will contact your GP to make sure that they are in agreement with the referral and are able to support any treatment that you may need.

  • What does the service offer?

    The Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service offers a treatment pathway focused on improving the physical and mental wellbeing of the people that we serve. We offer:
    • Comprehensive assessment
    • Medical interventions
    • Referrals for surgery and other treatments
    • Voice and communication therapy
    • Specialist psychological therapy.
    • Advice and training to other professionals, including advice on medical treatments.

  • Who is in the service?

    We are a multidisciplinary team and our team members have a wide variety of skills and experience. The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is made up of the staff in the service; this includes medical doctors, psychological therapists, nursing staff, and speech and language therapists. The aim of the team is to offer safe, high quality care and assessment as well as consistency between staff members in offering treatments and different perspectives on the needs of each person. All service users are discussed in the MDT at certain points in their treatment pathway.

    The MDT discusses difficult situations, offers advice and supervision and makes decisions about the best ways for staff to support service users to meet their needs. Discussions in the MDT are confidential within the team.

  • What happens when I attend my first appointment?

    The assessment process is a two part process. The first assessment is usually offered by one of our nursing or psychology staff. It lasts up to two hours and covers a wide range of topics relevant to personal experiences of gender dysphoria, gender identity and physical and mental wellbeing. After the first assessment, team members make a decision together about the next step.

    Where there is a need identified for additional psychological or medical support to make decisions about the best approach to assessment or treatment, the team might offer an extended assessment process. Service users might use this to explore their requirements for treatment, raise questions or reflect on their needs. The extended assessment will be with the person that team feels can best meet this need.

  • What will happen to the information gathered?

    Please be assured that any information you give will be treated as strictly confidential unless something you tell us leads us to believe there will be a risk to you or others, in which case the information will be shared on a need to know basis. The different members of the NRGDS work together as a team and discuss clinical cases regularly, including clinical supervision. The sharing of information with others will be discussed with you in detail during your first appointment.

  • What happens next?

    The second assessment appointment takes place after a period of at least three months. It is a repeat of the first assessment in many respects but also has some elements which are new. This is because the guidelines for treatment of gender dysphoria require that people seeking life changing treatments demonstrate stability of their experience over a period of time. The assessment is usually one appointment which lasts up to two hours and is with the member of the medical team who will work with the person during the next stage of their care in the service. Some people may find that this service does not meet their needs and be discharged during the assessment process.

  • Further information and support

    The NRGDS has a website which provides more detailed information and answers many frequently asked questions about the service. Details are included below.

    The NRGDS website has a leaflet ‘Gender Support Groups and Organisations’ containing information on local and national support groups. Please ask a member of the team if you would like a copy.

  • How do I contact the service?

    Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service
    Benfield House
    Walkergate Park Hospital
    Benfield Road
    NE6 4PF
    Tel: 0191 287 6130
    Email: NRGDS@cntw.nhs.uk
    Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk.

    Website: www.cntw.nhs.uk/nrgds

    Or search online for NRGDS

  • Travel information

    Contact Nexus Traveline: Tel: 0871 200 22 33

    Website: www.traveline.info/

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website www.cntw.nhs.uk (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email complaints@cntw.nhs.uk Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    - the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    www.cntw.nhs.uk/poy
    - complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Other formats, references and review

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2021 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/125/0421 April 2021 V8
    www.cntw.nhs.uk Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2022