CW: transphobia, mention of suicide
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has been criticised over the state of healthcare for trans people available in the UK. The event was recorded in a video seen by Cherwell.
Mr Hancock was at Mansfield College for the G7 health summit, when a student challenged him over the long delays experienced by trans people trying to access support.
Jenny Scoones asked Mr Hancock whether he had plans to implement increased funding and reforms to healthcare available to trans people. “Trans women as killing themselves every day because they can’t access the healthcare they need because you’re not funding them.
“I’ve had to wait six years. It took two and a half years to be seen…I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. I had to do it on my own, but lots of people don’t have the privileges I have.”
Ms Scoones finished by asking Mr Hancock to “fund trans healthcare” and declared that “trans lives matter”.
Mr Hancock responded by giving a ‘thumbs up’ gesture and said “absolutely”.
Ms Scoones told Mr Hancock that “[his] thumb means nothing. Do something”.
Mr Hancock said that Ms Scoones “made [her] point very clearly”.
Speaking to Cherwell afterwards, Ms Scoones said she felt Mr Hancock’s response was “just platitudes”. She continued: “I wanted to make him feel uncomfortable, and I think I did that. Because he should be; he shouldn’t be allowed to walk around feeling guilt-free about what is happening in trans healthcare in the UK right now.”
According to a 2018 report by Stonewall, 24% of trans people surveyed were “unsatisfied” with the support they had received from their GP. As of January 2020, over 13,500 people were on waiting lists for Gender Identity Clinics in England, with the average wait for a first appointment being 18 months. NHS Guidelines say the time between being referred for and receiving treatment should be 18 weeks.
47% of trans people who have not received medical support say that the long average waiting time prevented them from accessing interventions. 45% said they did not have the “financial means” to access interventions. A further 24% cited fear of discrimination from medical practitioners as preventing them from accessing the interventions they wanted.
Ms Scoones is also a singer, who wrote and released the song Supersonic Female about trans rights and access to healthcare.
Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care have been contacted for comment.