It was very nice to get an e-mail from the Minister of State for Health, especially so soon after we met in Saxmundham, And I couldn't agree with him more that we should, as a society do more, if we can, to reduce suicide rates in this country.
Which brings me to the transgender community. I understand, from friends, that the suicide rate, particularly amongst young transgender people, is very high, far higher than that of the population as a whole. They are often poorly treated by the NHS, due in part to a lack of awareness but also due to insufficient resources to deal with their quite specialised needs.
It would not cost much to change that, but would make the world of difference to those who are vulnerable and, often, isolated. Ensuring that they receive treatment within the guidelines set out, enabling them to be treated overseas if that helps - the cost differential need not be that great - would prevent the needless waste of human life that delays and/or denial by medical professionals sometimes provoke.
I don't know too much about my friends amongst the transgender community, and have only a hint of their day to day experiences, fighting for the treatment they need. They will doubtless have a list of more specific suggestions that would be appreciated, and I hope that they will be given an opportunity to put them to you and your colleagues in the Department of Health. But it strikes me that we could do something that helps them and achieves your laudable goal at the same time.
Just a suggestion, Norman, but I would be grateful if you could think about it...