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 NRGDS is an NHS specialist gender dysphoria service in England providing support to people wishing to explore their gender identity.

  • Who is the NRGDS for?

    The NRGDS is for adults living in England, who experience persistent distress, confusion and/or discomfort due to a discrepancy between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. This includes people who identify as transgender, as well as people who identify as non-binary. We acknowledge that individuals experience dysphoria differently and to varying degrees.

    People accessing the service may already know what they want in terms of changing their physical appearance, but others may not. The service supports people to explore their needs and make decisions that are right for them.

  • How can I be referred to the NRGDS?

    You can be referred to the service by your family doctor/GP or any other healthcare professional from anywhere in England. There is a referral form available on the NRGDS website, which the person referring you can use, to ensure all the correct information is provided. If someone other than your GP makes the referral, we will contact your GP to let them know, so they can support you with any treatments that may be required.

  • What does the service offer?

    NRGDS offers an assessment and treatment pathway focused on improving the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the people that we serve. This includes:
    – Comprehensive assessment
    – Medical interventions, including recommendations for hormones
    – Voice and communication therapy
    – Specialist psychological therapy
    – Referral for surgical interventions and other treatments
    – A peer support service staffed by people with lived experience.

    We also provide advice and training to other professionals.

  • Who is in the service?

    The service is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team with a wide variety of skills and experience. This includes medical doctors, psychologists and psychological therapists, specialist nursing staff, speech and language therapists, and peer supporters. The team meets regularly to discuss clinical issues, offer advice and supervision, and make decisions about how best to support service users to meet their needs.

  • What happens when I attend my first appointment?

    Usually the assessment process takes place over at least two appointments, with two members of staff.

    The first appointment usually takes place with one of our nursing or psychology staff and lasts up to two hours. You will be asked questions covering a wide range of topics relevant to your personal experience of gender dysphoria, gender identity, and physical and mental wellbeing. At the end of this appointment, you and the clinician will make a decision about what happens next. Some people benefit from another contact with the clinician, from a period of reflection or from an extended period to explore and discuss treatment options and raise questions. The outcome from these initial appointment(s) will determine whether or not it is helpful for you to have a second assessment, with a different member of the team.

  • What happens next?

    A second assessment takes place at least three months after the first; the waiting time for second assessment is likely to be longer than this and up-to-date waiting times are available on the service’s website. The second assessment is usually with one of our medical staff. You may be asked for similar information during the second assessment. The need for two assessments is based on the requirement for people seeking life changing treatments to demonstrate stability and consistency over a period of time in their experience and choices. This is a nationally agreed standard for specialist gender dysphoria services.

    As part of the assessment, your clinician will discuss whether or not they can make a gender dysphoria related diagnosis. If the assessment process has demonstrated that the NRGDS will not meet your needs, you will be discharged at this point and sign-posted to other relevant services.

    If the assessment concludes that you would benefit from a period of care and treatment in the service, an initial plan regarding this will be agreed with you. This may include starting hormone therapy and/or referral for other interventions, such as hair removal, speech and language therapy or surgery.

  • What will happen with the information gathered?

    Any information you share will be treated as strictly confidential. We share the information you provide with other members of the NRGDS Multidisciplinary Team during discussions relevant to your care. In order to provide you with a safe service and recommend treatment, we will also seek your consent to share information with your GP. We will not share any information outside the team without your consent, except if you tell us something that leads us to believe that there is a risk to you or someone else. In this case, we are duty bound to share information with other relevant services to ensure you and others remain safe.

  • Further information and support

    The NRGDS website is a good starting point for information about the service, if you have further questions or need additional support. This includes information about how to access our Peer Support Service and contact details for other relevant gender service organisations and groups.

  • How do I contact the service?

    If you have a question or need further information, please have a look at our website first to see if you can find an answer there –

    If you still then need assistance, please email us at [email protected] giving as much detail as possible about your query. Any information you send to us via email is at your own risk.

    If you prefer, you can also write to us at:
    Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service
    Benfield House
    Walkergate Park Hospital
    Benfield Road
    NE6 4PF

  • Travel information

    Contact Traveline: Tel: 0871 200 22 33


  • 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 (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email [email protected] 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
    – 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
    2022 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/125/0622 June 2022 V9 Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2025