A TRANSGENDER woman who has waited nearly six months for laser hair removal surgery as part of the final stages of her treatment has said the NHS “need to realise they are mucking around with people’s lives”.

Jessica Samson, 39, said she has had “months of frustration” since being told her funding was approved in July.

She added: “As it stands, something that should’ve taken two months is currently taking [more than] six, and there is absolutely no sign of it making any further progress.

“It is difficult to explain why this is a big issue to anyone who hasn’t had trans-thoughts, but I’ve been on hormones long enough for my body to start changing, but I still grow a beard every day and I have to shave twice a day to maintain some sort of normal lifestyle.

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“I’ve had my head in my hands crying so many times about this”

Jessica has had months of sending letters and emails to various departments within the NHS and getting no response.

She has now submitted a formal complaint.

An NHS spokesperson said: “NHS England does not comment on individual cases, and any patient complaint received is handled through a formal process.”

“I sent the initial letter recorded delivery, as requested”, she said, “A month went by without even an acknowledgement of the letter being received.”

She added: “I then sent a second letter saying I hadn’t had a response just in case it was lost, also sent recorded delivery.”

Another month went by before Jessica starting taking matters into her own hands.

Jessica said: “I found phone numbers and email addresses that basically circumvented the standard NHS call line, and got through to the Specialised Commissioning Team (SCT) based in Bristol.

“They gave me a list of approved providers, one of which was Salisbury District Hospital.

“I was then put in contact with the Plastics, Oral, Orthopaedic and Laser Department at the hospital, and then it just got into a long cycle of not hearing anything, trying again and never getting a response [from the people who release the funding].

“The process completely broke down.”

She says the SCT in Bristol are “impossible to get hold of”.

After 5 months of going backwards and forwards, Jessica eventually filled a formal NHS complaint.

She also received an email from someone within the hospital saying they had not been chasing the process up, even though it was already delayed by several months.

She said: “Honestly, I broke down crying when I read that email, because I actually thought the hospital were working for me but were being blocked by a higher authority, and I then suddenly discovered that actually they’re not doing what they need to do.”

A spokesperson for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re sorry to hear about Ms Samson’s experience. As soon as we received confirmation of funding for this service for her, treatment was immediately arranged.”

Jessica added: “As far as I see it and can prove with emails and paper trails, a department basically didn’t exist or had been moved but nobody told anybody.

“I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg. I can’t speak for other areas of the NHS, because from what I can tell the country is broken down into different geographical areas, and if other areas and managing these issues better then fine, but who knows.”

While transgender treatment in this country have come a long way, Jessica feels there is still work to be done: "Attention and acceptance have grown exponentially over the few years and to train a specialist doctor takes many years, so the specialist doctors may not be ready yet.

"So the delay in getting treatment through a gender identity clinic I totally understand and accept, I think that’s regrettable but it’s a case of demand outstripping capability.

“You could throw money at it and it wouldn’t make a difference because the specialists aren’t there.

“I accept it. I don’t like it, but I accept that that’s how it is.

“That process has moved, and moved at the speed it can, but suddenly we then get to mainstream NHS.

"I’m not trying to access a niche department, this is a major department that should be able to receive funding.

“Is it really that hard? I get things go wrong, we’re only human, mistakes get made, things get ignored, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a genuine apology, no one has tried to take ownership and get it sorted."