Tory MP Crispin Blunt demands government act on ‘cruel and unusual’ trans healthcare crisis

Tory MP Crispin Blunt has condemned the “unacceptable crisis in trans healthcare” and demanded the government pay for trans patients to have gender-affirming surgeries abroad.

Blunt, who is chair of the APPG on global LGBT+ rights, pointed to the “continued failure” of the NHS to provide an essential gender-affirming surgery for trans men and non-binary people in a letter to the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

“It is cruel and unusual not only to leave patients indefinitely without access to surgery or between surgical stages but also expose them to the naturally consequent detrimental effects on their mental health and worsened symptoms of gender dysphoria without access to the specialised mental-health support they require,” Blunt wrote in his 6 September letter.

Trans men and non-binary people have been left in limbo as phalloplasty and metoidioplasty, two surgeries that construct a penis, have been unavailable for NHS patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

The sole UK provider of the surgeries, St Peters Andrology, stopped carrying them out in April 2021. This is because St Peters, which is a Harley Street centre that does not own hospital facilities, had not secured a contract by April with a hospital site from which its surgeons could carry out procedures.

The crisis slowly came to light in the first five months of 2021, with trans men and non-binary people telling PinkNews they felt left in limbo, let down by the NHS and ignored by the wider LGBT+ community.

Crispin Blunt echoes trans activists demands

Hundreds of trans patients, who are waiting for surgery, repairs, or are between surgical stages, wrote to Javid on 2 September protesting the failure of the NHS to provide gender-affirming genital surgeries.

“The current situation is a nightmare for trans men and non-binary people and we ask you to urgently put measures in place to support us,” they said.

Enclosing a copy of the trans patients’ letter with his own letter to Sajid Javid, Crispin Blunt said that “the crisis in trans healthcare which the writers of the letter detail is unacceptable”.

He continued: “The consequences of this are harmful for the people who desperately need this surgery and represents a failure of the NHS to meet its obligations to provide comprehensive healthcare.

“It is imperative that this be resolved as quickly as possible, and, as the enclosed letter demands, in the meantime funding for access to surgery abroad and mental health support at home be offered to all patients who require it.”