National Gender Service at Loughlinstown have misplaced over 100 patient referrals - TENI responds 

TENI is shocked at the news from the National Gender Service (NGS) at St. Colmcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown.

National Gender Service Loughlinstown building exterior

The National Gender Service at Loughlinstown has advised TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) that over 100 patient referrals, which should have been placed on their own waiting list, have been misplaced on other waiting lists. TENI understand that these patients have been on incorrect lists for up to three years, waiting on an appointment, without any communication or notification from the NGS.

In a release this morning they state: “We understand that the National Gender Service Loughlinstown will write to each of the individuals affected. This letter will outline the situation and request that the patient make contact with the NGS. We also understand that the NGS team intend to speak with every individual affected by this issue and to determine, on a case-by-case basis, how to proceed.

“We are shocked and disappointed at this disregard for patients. This will have a devastating impact on our community. It is a breach of trust. Our community told us that they were waiting too long, that their referrals were lost in the system and that they were not being kept informed. We knew that these concerns were valid. Now the National Gender Service has finally admitted that their system has failed us.

“TENI held a crisis meeting on Monday, 4th November, with the NGS clinical lead and other members of the NGS team, to understand what happened, to ensure it never happens again and to figure out how TENI can support those affected. We sought assurances and received commitments from the NGS team that they would put resources and practices in place to resolve this issue. We will continue to communicate with the NGS team to ensure that these matters are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.

“If you are one of the people whose referral was misplaced, you should receive a letter from the National Gender Service with details of how to contact them. A member of the NGS team has been assigned to each affected individual and the NGS team member will have a phone conversation with that person to assess their needs and to determine how best to accommodate them in the National Gender Service.

“If you have not received a letter and believe that you should have been contacted about an appointment, please contact the National Gender Service by phone at (01) 211 5045 or by email at [email protected].

“If you are already on the waiting list for the National Gender Service, your time on that waiting list may now be longer than expected. The NGS has informed us that they intend to communicate with everyone on the NGS waiting list and give them an updated expected wait-time. In order to do this, they have to assess the needs of those whose referral was misplaced and to decide if and where they will be added to the existing NGS waiting list.”

TENI has consistently raised these issues, but have not received an acceptable response to their concerns. Trans people experience a higher incidence of negative mental health outcomes than the general population. Poor mental health in our community is often exacerbated by the lack of appropriate gender-affirming health services. Trans people deserve accessible and timely healthcare; care that is person-centred and based on international best practice.

TENI states, “[We] recognise that this may be very distressing news and we are going to do everything we can to help everyone who is affected by this. We have asked volunteers to help us, over the next few weeks, to ensure that we are available to anyone who needs us. TENI is here to support you.

“If you’ve been affected, are concerned or are unsure of what to do, you can email us on [email protected], a dedicated email account created to support people in this situation, or you can call us on our office number, (01) 873 3575.”

Noah Halpin from This Is Me – Transgender Healthcare Campaign, Ireland also commented on the revelations saying:

“This is an issue that This Is Me and the Trans community of Ireland have been trying to highlight for many years now. A true claim from our community that has been repeatedly rejected, disputed and denied by the National Gender Service at Loughlinstown Hospital on many occasions. We are not at all shocked or surprised by this information, as this is information that we have been trying to expose for some time now.

“We are only shocked and surprised by the National Gender Services’s public admission to this long known situation. That they have finally, publicly confirmed our claims to be true. The National Gender Service have now confirmed that over a hundred people’s referrals have been lost or misplaced. These cases stem back to people who were originally referred over 3 years ago, who though themselves to be climbing the already outrageous 3.5-year waiting list to obtain hormone treatment.

“However, they never entered that list in the first place. The National Gender Service has confirmed that the individuals affected will be reinstated onto the waiting list as they see fit after reviewing each ‘case’ individually. Although bearable news for those affected, this will mean an extension to the already 3.5 year-long waiting list for those currently seeking treatment. Although we are satisfied that the National Gender Service has now admitted their failures, the real work for the community begins now. ”

If you are in crisis or need urgent support, you can call the LGBT Helpline on 1890 929 539. You can also contact the Samaritans at 116 123 or Pieta House at 1800 247 247.

TENI’s Gender Identity Family Support Line, for family members of trans people, runs every Sunday from 6pm to 9pm on 01 907 3707.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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