THE NHS board which runs Scotland’s only gender clinic has said the “media and political scrutiny” it faces is making it more difficult to hire staff and provide services.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which manages the Sandyford Sexual Health Clinic in Glasgow, issued its statement after The Sunday National spoke to a source with knowledge of the situation who had anonymously raised similar concerns.

They told this paper that the team working in gender services were “scared” to work in a climate that is increasingly toxic as trans people find themselves in the centre of a cultural battle.

This climate has grown so bad that the Sandyford is finding it extremely difficult to hire staff, impacting on its ability to provide services, the source said.

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When the concerns were put to NHSGGC, the health board said it was “true” that it is facing “specific challenges around recruitment in some areas”.

In a statement, a spokesperson said that the increased public attention on the services at Sandyford as a result of ongoing media and political scrutiny was making recruitment more difficult.

As well as facing calls to close or face a full review over its services for trans people, the clinic is a popular target for protesters opposed to abortion.

NHSGGC said: “As is the case throughout the country, services across NHSGGC – including gender services at the Sandyford Clinic – are under considerable pressure. All our staff are doing all they can to address these challenges, and we would like to thank them for their continuing commitment and professionalism.

“Gender services is a complex specialty which demands a particular set of clinical skills and other qualities from staff, and it is true that we are facing specific challenges around recruitment in some areas.

“Our recruitment teams are working hard to attract the right staff to our service, but these efforts are made more challenging by ongoing media and political scrutiny, and the additional public attention that has followed.

“We are very aware of the impact this scrutiny may have on our teams within gender services, and in other services provided by the Sandyford, and we are doing everything we can ensure staff are appropriately supported. If any member of staff is concerned in any way about the challenges they face, we would encourage them to speak to their line manager in the first instance, or to make use of the support services available internally across NHSGGC.”