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FOI release

FOI–2023-000477 Gender Services Waiting Times (HTML)

Published on 08 January 2024

Date received – 20/12/2023 | Date responded – 08/01/2024


I am requesting information in relation to the gender healthcare service provided by the NHS, of which I am on a waiting list. I require this information to make informed decision on whether I should look into private healthcare.

Since 2019, how many patients have received a double mastectomy (top surgery) after having been referred from a gender health care service on the NHS in Scotland.

How long, on average, since the point of referral to the gender clinic, are patients receiving this surgery on the NHS?


I can advise you that we have now completed the search of our records and can provide you with the following information:

Under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act, 2002 (FOISA) an organisation does not have to provide that information if it does not hold that information.

NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) does not keep an end-to-end record of the patient’s journey and therefore we are unable to advise how many surgeries have taken place.

What we can provide you with is Appendix 1 – Chest reconstruction surgery funding requests, this shows the data on the number of gender reassignment funding requests since 2019. Please note the following caveats around the supplied data:

  • The data represents the number of funding requests approved by National Screening Directorate (NSD) for the gender reassignment surgeries, by financial year up to 15 November 2023.

  • The data does not indicate the actual number of referrals/surgeries as the patient, or their clinician may decide they no longer wish or need to proceed with treatment.

As with many NHS services, it is the case that clinical capacity and service provision was impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surgery was clinically prioritised in line with the agreed clinical prioritisation framework with priority being given to surgery that is essential to save life or deal with life limiting conditions. Gender reassignment surgery is considered as an elective, planned procedure and as such waiting times have been impacted.

I trust you will find the information of assistance and if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of how we have dealt with your request, you can make representations to us asking us to review the handling of your request.

If you require any further information, please contact Head of Information and Cyber Security, Digital and Security within 40 working days of the date of this correspondence.



NHS National Services Scotland
Gyle Square
1 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9EB

If after a review you are still unhappy, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner, who can be contacted at Kinburn Castle, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS, or via their application form.

National Services Scotland (NSS) is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. You can view all FOI responses within our FOI Publications repository.