TRANSGENDER people in Wales will be able to access the care they need closer to home under new plans announced today.

The plan, announced to coincide with this week's Pride Cymru event, will see hospital-based gender identity services available in Wales for the first time.

The service, which will begin to be put in place in the autumn, will allow GPs to refer directly to a new Welsh Gender Team.

Currently there is no gender identity clinic in Wales, meaning transgender people need to travel to London for hormone therapy or other treatments.

The new service will initially facilitate the prescribing of medication for those who have already attended appointments at the London clinic, but will begin accepting new referrals from March next year.

A new network of Welsh GPs with specific interest in gender identity healthcare will also be created to provide care in the community

Announcing the new service Wales' health secretary Vaughan Gething said: "Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in demand for transgender health services in Wales.

"As part of our commitment to improve health and wellbeing for all, this year we made additional funding available within the Welsh Government budget to improve gender identity provision in Wales.

“The new services I’m announcing today means all but the most specialist services will soon be delivered in Wales, closer to people’s homes, which will improve access and experience for people needing care.

"I look forward to seeing great improvements to those services.

“The All-Wales Gender Identity Partnership Group has been actively involved in designing the new pathway and will continue to be involved in all future work.

"I want to thank them for the work to date and for their continued commitment and engagement in developing an improved service to meet the needs of transgender people in Wales.”

Chairwoman of the British Medical Association Wales GP Committee Dr Charlotte Jones said she was "delighted" by the news.