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More than 13,500 transgender and non-binary adults are on waiting lists for NHS gender identity clinics in England.
Some people have had to wait three years for their first appointment at a clinic, BBC research has found.
The system has been described as “broken” by an ex-soldier who has been waiting to see a consultant since 2016.
There has been a 40% increase in referrals over the past four years and NHS England said it had increased investment amid rising demand.
NHS England has pledged to bring waiting times to below 18 weeks but the average wait for a first appointment at a gender identity clinic is 18 months, according to national charity LGBT Foundation.
Andrea Halliley, 51, went on tours to Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq before retiring from the army in 2014.
She went to her GP in September 2016 and was referred to the NHS gender identity service in Leeds, having a telephone assessment in July 2017 and an appointment with a psychiatric nurse in December the following year.
Article URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-51006264