I posted a couple of days ago about my appointment with the psychiatrist on Friday, and my referral to the GIC. What happened not long afterwards has troubled me slightly over the weekend and I think I'd better write about it here.
On Friday evening I happened to meet a friend from another town in passing. She's like me, bloke on the outside at the moment, at the start of the NHS system. She's in a more perilous state than me though and unlike me she's wanting to go the whole way, hormones and GRS where I'm seeking a way to avoid them without going insane. She is also unemployed at the moment, as I understand it on medical grounds.
I've been referred to the GIC. She hasn't. She's had her first appointment with the gatekeeper psychiatrist in her area, but unlike me she has been unable to secure a second appointment. The reason? She's unemployed and I'm not.
Now I understand all about Real Life Experience. How in the NHS interpretation of the Standards of Care you have to prove you are able to live in your target gender role in the real world before being prescribed any hormones. And how that has to include employment, voluntary work or education. I have seen many different views on RLE, but they have a reason for it and that's the way they do it.
I do not however understand how the employment requirement for RLE can be applied to an appointment with the gatekeeper. At the gatekeeper level you are several steps and a lot of time away from even thinking about RLE and there should be no employment requirement for psychiatric counseling alone.
I am unaware of any other condition covered by the NHS for which there is a requirement to be employed before they'll even see you. Forget about the RLE requirement for a minute, that's about one treatment choice not the diagnosis. Maybe I'm missing something, but wasn't the NHS supposed to be about equal access to treatment for all regardless of their means? Or indeed what they are suffering from. I understand this may be a local policy from my friend's area rather than national NHS policy, but someone needs reminding of what it says on the NHS charter.