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50 year wait "completely unacceptable"

Fri 2 Sep 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Green Party MP and transgender advocate, Jan Logie, says a 50 year wait for trans feminine gender reassignment surgery “is completely unacceptable”.   The Ministry of Health’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Simpson says there are now over 85 people on the waiting list for gender reassignment surgery and taking into account the current rate at which these surgeries are being undertaken, those on the list for trans feminine surgeries are facing a wait of almost 50 years. “This is completely unacceptable,” says Logie “The government needs to stop treating Gender Reassignment surgery and other healthcare for transgender people in New Zealand as optional.These surgeries are core health services for members of our communities and government has a responsibility to deliver.” She says “I am concerned that the Ministry of Health hasn't acted earlier because they either hold prejudiced or trivialising views or are worried that their Minister does. The imbalance between need and service availability is so extreme it can't be justified.” The Youth 12 study found high rates of depression and self-harm among trans and gender questioning young people, and a lack of access to health care. Logie says “The impact can be profound and is a symptom and cause of the marginalisation many trans people feel that contributes to the devastating suicide rate.” National suicide statistics don’t refer to sexual and gender minorities, however in the year ending July 2015, 563 deaths were recorded in New Zealand. In April 2015, Auckland counsellor and advocate Tom Hamilton told Parliament’s Health Select Committee the lack of healthcare services for trans and intersex people is a priority public health issue where urgent intervention is needed. He submission followed a petition that urged the government to take action to address the inadequate supply of publicly funded gender reassignment health services, including counselling, endocrinology and surgical services, in New Zealand. Logie says the Green Party’s view “is that the Government should develop a national surgical service for Gender Reassignment Surgery (as it typically would for any other specialist service with similarly low and dispersed need) and should establish minimum requirements for DHBs in connection with endocrinology and mental health services for trans and intersex New Zealanders, noting that these are likely to include primary, secondary and tertiary level services. “The Government should also clarify for all DHBs that acceptability of the way all services are provided to trans and intersex New Zealanders is a minimum quality requirement and should provide training services if these are required to meet this standard.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 2nd September 2016 - 10:59am

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