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The UK NHS Postcode Lottery

I am Stephanie Butterfield, and I am transitioning on the UK PCT-led NHS system. Whilst i feel fortunate to have had my trachea shave/vocal cord surgery and facial hair removal already, with my GRS also guaranteed when the time comes, I do however feel very frustrated at the UK postcode lottery, not just for me, but for others too.

The PCT’s (Primary Care Trusts), often treat transsexual procedures as unnecessary, or simply cosmetic, not thinking beyond their small mindedness and thinking about the TS patients’ quality of life.

The postcode lottery works like this – one PCT will fund a girl’s breast augmentation and facial hair removal, whereas another PCT will not. How, you may ask?  If it is the NHS (National Health Service), we should get even and equal access to funded treatments and operations available on the NHS.

However, each PCT has the right to decide funding at a local level; it’s this which allows the postcode lottery to thrive, leaving many transgirls and transguys frustrated at the unfairness of it all.

Another irritating feature of the NHS transition route is the waiting one has to do, from GP (general practitioner) to GIC (gender identity center), from 1st opinion to 2nd opinion, from 2nd opinion to the operation itself.

I am currently at the waiting for my 2nd opinion stage, an 8 and a half month wait as I write, and my latest frustration is being blocked from seeing an endocrinologist.


6 Responses

  1. Hi Steph! I see you found your way here from cd dotcom.
    I can’t think of too many things that would be more frustrating than being jerked around by the medical system that’s supposed to be helping you! This country doesn’t have any form of public health care, just expensive health insurance, and most health insurance companies don’t offer transgender care coverage here in the U.S., so at least you do have that advantage anyway. I do know the frustration of having to wait for care, I had to wait a year to get prescriptions for my HRT.
    I’m glad you found us here at Transcendgender!

  2. Stephanie, please tell me where you got your vocal cord surgery. I am considering having it done in Thailand. I have fears that I will lose my voice completely. Did you notice dramatic results after the surgery? How long did it take for you to recover?

  3. Hi Alexis,

    I can only tell you how it went for me, I had trachea shave and vocal cord approximation which tightens the vocal cords resulting in a more feminine voice. My voice has not been questioned since I underwent the surgery. I am reffered to a miss or mrs on the phone, which never happened before the surgery.

    As far as losing my voice, all I had was a rough voice, gravelly in sound for 3 weeks or so, as the throat was sore and swollen, once that settled down my voice was totally transormed. I was signed off voice therapy as soon as my therapist heard my voice post op.

    The scar is almost dissapeared now, it takes about a year, slightly more in some cases.

    It would be wrong for me to either encourage or discourage you to undergo the voice surgery, it has to be a personal decision.

    What I would say is treat vocal cords or trachea shave surgery like any surgery procedure, talk to the surgeon a lot about how the procedure will be carried out, also see if you can get references from recent patients.

    Please accept my sincerest best wishes with your transition.



  4. […] only person I know of who got surgery with Dr Bellringer, it paid for its surgery itself due to the UK postcode lottery even though transsexual surgery is usually covered by […]

  5. […] only person I know of who got surgery with Dr Bellringer, it paid for its surgery itself due to the UK postcode lottery even though transsexual surgery is usually covered by […]

  6. i have been in role for over two years and i dont know what is happening , nothing has been said to me ..iam pissed off big time

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