TENI Welcomes Announcement Of Long Awaited New Posts In Transgender Health Care

Last Friday, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) welcomed confirmation that the HSE intends to recruit a significant number of new posts for the provision of gender affirming healthcare to transgender people.

Health care utensils

Details of the posts were provided by Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, TD in a written response to parliamentary questions on the topic. The Minister confirmed that national gender clinics and multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) for children and adults will be developed and that funding will come from the Acute Hospitals and Mental Health Divisions of the HSE.

Posts for recruitment are said to include one consultant endocrinologist (adult services), one consultant endocrinologist (paediatric services), one social worker (adult services), one speech and language therapist (adult services), one senior psychologist (adult services), one senior psychologist (paediatric services), one clinical nurse specialist (paediatric services), and two administrative support officers (adult and paediatric services).

Welcoming the announcement, TENI Health and Education Manager Vanessa Lacey said “TENI has consulted extensively within our community and worked consistently with partners from a range of divisions across the HSE, to ensure that the current model of service delivery is person-centred and based on international best practice, as evidenced by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) guidelines.”

“It is extremely heartening to hear that nine new positions will be filled to enable timely access for trans people and their families to range services based on need,” she added.

Speaking today, TENI Chief Executive Stephen O’Hare said: “Waiting list for consultations remain extremely long and this has a significant detrimental impact on members of our community who need to access adult or paediatric health care services.”

“While the recruitment of these posts is likely to result in a significant reduction in waiting times, more detail on the precise location and expected timeframe for the recruitment of these posts should be provided,” he said.

“Timely access to gender-affirming health services based on a model of informed consent and accessible at a regional level remains a key strategic goal for TENI”, added Mr O’Hare.

These changes, although in the pipeline, were brought forward by the incredible pressure applied in recent months by the Campaign, numerous organisations, and the trans community and their allies as a whole, coming together.

A demonstration was held in January to protest as a response to the lack of transgender healthcare and legal recognition for non-binary and intersex individuals. The organisers of the demonstration released a statement:

“Although we welcome this advance, and that this development will slightly improve waiting lists, we note that this development is still very focused on the medical/diagnostic model, increases psychiatric involvement in terms of diagnosis and is not in accordance with the demands associated with the #ThisIsMe campaign or WPATH guidelines. We will hope that waiting lists improve as a result of these changes, as we continue to fight for an informed consent model.”

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