Contact from us ahead of your first appointment

Before your first appointment we will contact you at least four times, and you will have several weeks to respond to us to confirm you want to be seen. Read more about the process below.

Nationally, waiting times to be seen at Gender Identity Clinics (GICs) are very long. We are the largest GIC in Britain, and we also have the largest waiting list. In May 2022 we had over 11,000 people waiting to be seen (find out more about our waiting times).

These long waits to be seen mean that:

  1. some of the people who reach the top of our waiting list no longer need our services
  2. the circumstances of those who still want to be seen may have changed.

We also have a significant number of people not attend their appointments without contacting us to let us know. This means the clinicians don’t see anybody during this appointment slot. This is time that could have been spent with other patients. Currently, the number of appointments missed without warning by patients each week could treat a patient across a complete pathway, from initial appointment through to treatment.

To see as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible, we need to make sure that we are making appointments with patients who still wish to be seen and we have up to date information going into first appointments.

Our admin team books appointments six to eight weeks in advance and needs to ensure that all the slots we have available are filled with patients who are ready to be seen.

We have therefore updated our waiting list management approach, including how we contact everyone in advance of their first appointment. We have modelled the new approach on the NHS referral to treatment (RTT) model, used for services such as cancer care.

When and how we contact you before your first appointment

Eight weeks before your first appointment

We will call you twice, on different days. We will ring until you answer or we are redirected to voicemail. To protect your privacy, we will not leave a message on your voicemail.

During this call we will ask you to update your consent to treatment. We do this because it will be some time since you last completed the consent form, and your situation may have changed or you may have changed your mind about what you want.

We also ask whether there are any significant changes to your health that might impact on your care, for example whether you have already accessed hormone therapy from other providers, or whether you are smoking. This is an essential part of the diagnostic information we use to assess preparedness for treatment. 

Following these attempts to call, if we don’t hear from you, we will send you an email or postal letter (depending on your communication preferences). This email/letter includes the patient pack.

Five or six weeks before your first appointment

Roughly three weeks after we have sent that email or postal letter, if we haven’t heard from you, we will send you a second email or letter, with the same information and the patient pack.

You must return your information as soon as possible after this fourth attempt at contact, as we cannot book your appointment without it. If we have not heard from you throughout these weeks, you will not be offered an appointment. We then review your referral with a clinician. Depending on the review, we may then discharge you from our waiting list.

This deadline means that if you are not ready to be seen, we are still able to offer the appointment to someone else on the waiting list who is ready.

If we have heard back from you with an updated consent, we will then send you a letter with details of the date and time of your appointment.

Shortly before your appointment

After you have received your appointment, we will send you a number of text message reminders.

If you want to attend, you do not need to reply to these – simply attend your appointment. If you wish to cancel your appointment, you must contact us at least 72 hours before your appointment or it will be counted as a ‘Did Not Attend’. If you have a valid reason why you had to cancel with less notice (for example if you fell sick) you will be offered a second appointment.

Our contact process

Eight weeks before

  • Phone call one
  • Phone call two
  • Email or postal letter

Five to six weeks before

  • Second email or postal letter

Shortly before

  • Invitation email with appointment details
  • Several text message reminders
  • No need to reply if attending
  • IF cancelling, please give 72 hours notice