An inquest is due to hear about the death of a transgender woman who took her own life while on an NHS waiting list.
Alice Litman, of Albion Hill, Brighton, had waited almost three years for gender-affirming healthcare, having been referred to the NHS Gender Identity Development Service in August 2019.
She died on Thursday 26 May last year, with a three-day inquest expected to examine the delays faced by Alice in accessing healthcare as a trans person, specifically from the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).
The law firm Bindmans said: “The inquest will also consider the decision by NHS adult mental health services to discharge Alice from treatment for depression and anxiety once she turned 18 when she was transferred out of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) as well as the impact of any gaps in care by her GP.”
The family of Alice Litman said: “Alice was a sweet and gentle person whose death has devastated our family.
“We believe that Alice died partly because of the inaccessibility of gender-affirming healthcare in the UK. At the time of her death, Alice had been on the Gender Identity Clinic waiting list for 1,023 days.
“Alice described the years-long wait and the inadequacy of her care as leaving her feeling hopeless and helpless, without an end in sight.
“We want the coroner to recognise failings in trans healthcare as a cause of Alice’s death so we can get justice for Alice and push for changes that will improve the lives of other trans people.
“We want to live in a world where transgender people do not face threats to their safety, their autonomy and their happiness.
“We all deserve to live in dignity with access to the healthcare we need. We are asking NHS England to prevent future deaths by urgently addressing the crisis in trans healthcare.”
The inquest is taking place at Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court, sitting at the Sussex County Cricket Ground, in Eaton Road, Hove.
It was due to start this morning (Monday 18 September), with assistant coroner Sarah Clarke hearing the case, but it was delayed because of technical problems.
The Litman family is represented by Anna Thwaites and Helen Fry, from Bindmans, alongside Sophie Walker, a barrister from One Pump Court, with support from the Good Law Project (GLP).
The Good Law Project head of engagement Ellie Mae O’Hagan said: “Good Law Project is supporting this case because no family should lose someone they love after being left for too long on a waiting list for healthcare.
“Alice Litman was a beloved daughter, sister and friend, who should be looking forward to creating memories, having adventures and building relationships. Instead, her family are grieving her loss.
“We call on the coroner to do the right thing and acknowledge that the terrible time Alice was forced to wait for care from the gender identity clinic was a cause of her devastating death. We don’t want any other families to go through this.”