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13 September 2023

Alice Litman: long gender clinic waits to be considered at inquest into death of young transgender woman

3 mins

Before HM Coroner Sarah Clarke
Sussex County Cricket Ground
Central County Ground, The 1st, Eaton Road, Hove, BN3 3AN
From 10am, 18-20 September 2023

Alice Litman, a young transgender woman, was just 20 years old when she died on 26 May 2022. She had been on the NHS waiting list to receive gender-affirming healthcare for 1,023 days at the time of her death, and had not received her first appointment. 

The final inquest hearing into Alice’s death is listed over three days. The inquest will examine the delays Alice faced in accessing healthcare as a trans person, specifically from the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic (GIC). 

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.

Ellie Mae O’Hagan, Head of Engagement at Good Law Project, 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.

The Litman family is represented by Partner Anna Thwaites and Consultant Helen Fry of Bindmans LLP in inquest proceedings, alongside Counsel Sophie Walker at One Pump Court with support from the Good Law Project (GLP).

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