Trans Service in Sefton Wins National Award

Trans Health Sefton has been named as a winner in this year’s Healthcare Transformation Awards 2019, which recognise the very best in innovation and improvement across the NHS.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG were jointly nominated in the Innovation in Primary Care category for their trans service in Sefton, which launched in November 2017.

Across the country, trans people generally experience poorer health care than the wider population, which can mean significant risks to their health and wellbeing. Many health professionals don’t have the relevant skills or understanding to achieve the best access and outcomes for transgender patients.

To address this, the CCGs in Sefton worked with patients and health professionals to design an innovative primary care based service. The service now provides timely and holistic support for transgender patients and their families to improve their experience and health outcomes.

Now in its second year, the ‘Trans Health Sefton – a unified approach to gender care’ service has gone from strength to strength. The clinic is the first of its kind and a true grass roots initiative. Patients say it is better and have reported higher levels of wellbeing.

A thank you card from a mum of a young patient reads: “Thank you so much for our meeting a few weeks ago. It means so much to know that someone in your position cares and has so much knowledge and understanding.”

In other areas of Merseyside patients are waiting for a service based far away with a long wait. To address this a new collaborative called ‘Cheshire and Merseyside Area Gender Identity Collaborative’ (CMAGIC) has been created with representatives from neighbouring CCGs including Wirral, Halton, St Helens, Liverpool and Knowsley, providers, a local endocrinologist, GPs and patient representatives to roll the service out in the region. As the service has been so successful in Sefton, CMAGIC have applied for funding to roll this out across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Anthony Griffin, chair of In-Trust Merseyside, who played a key role in the design of the service, said: “As chair of the local Sefton group In-Trust Merseyside I know that the trans community will be looked after by clinical staff who truly understand the barriers that trans people face when they engage with the NHS.”

Speaking about winning the award, Jenny Owen, commissioning manager at the Sefton CCGs, said: “Winning such a prestigious award is testament to the hard work of everyone in the team who care deeply about delivering the very best health service possible for people in Sefton.

“Whether you are questioning your gender identity and would like more information, if you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or if you’ve had medical and/or surgical treatment before or not, the team at Trans Health Sefton would be happy to see you.”

Trans Health Sefton is available for anyone registered with a GP in Sefton and patients can be referred by a healthcare professional such as their GP, or can refer themselves to the service.

Dr Anna Ferguson, who runs the service at the Strand Medical Centre in Bootle, said: “I have seen people aged nine – mid 70’s at every step of their journey as patients.  It’s been an amazing, rewarding and at times heart breaking job to do. Rarely have I seen a group of patients who are more eager to engage and grateful for everything that has been done for them than the patients I have encountered through this service.

“Their individual stories are absolutely remarkable in terms of the adversity many have come through and their bravery in facing their futures.  It is a credit to the Sefton CCGs that they have funded my time to do this work and allowed me the luxury of spending more than the GP standard 10 minute appointment slot for these most complex of consultations. I am so pleased that the service has been recognised by the healthcare transformation awards.”

The Healthcare Transformation Awards were hosted by NHS Clinical Commissioners and Health + Care on 26 June at the ExCel in London. The full shortlist can be seen here: www.healthcareshow.co.uk/2019-healthcare-transformation-awards

For more information on the service please visit: www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/how-we-use-your-views