Activists write open letter to Irish Health Minister calling for action on trans healthcare

The letter calls on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to cease the NGS's policy of advising GPs not to provide trans patients with blood tests.


Transgress the NGS, an organisation campaigning for a better trans healthcare system in Ireland, has published an open letter to the Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, asking that he “order the National Gender Service to stop interfering with trans patients ability to access basic healthcare through their GP”. 

Earlier this month, Transgress the NGS staged a theatre protest outside the HSE offices, calling on the NGS, which is currently the sole public provider of trans healthcare in Ireland, to drop its policy of advising GPs not to provide blood tests and hormone replacement therapy prescriptions to their trans patients. 

The newly published open letter begins with: “We are writing to highlight major challenges for trans people’s right to access basic healthcare through their GP due to interference from the National Gender Service (NGS) and demand action on this issue.

“This is the case for patients who are accessing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by self medicating, referring to accessing HRT without oversight from a qualified medical professional or through private healthcare providers. People’s choice to access HRT privately or by self medicating reflects the non-existence of an adequate public trans healthcare system, with current NGS waiting lists estimated at up to 10 years and rising”. 

Transgress the NGS goes on to call out the NGS’s current policy of “advising GPs not to provide blood tests or HRT prescriptions to patients accessing healthcare outside their control”.

“This is an extremely harmful policy which puts trans patients at elevated risk of serious health issues,” the open letter continues. “In their correspondence with GPs, and in response to parliamentary questions which have been posed about this issue, the NGS justify their position by claiming that such blood tests are not medically necessary.

“This is deeply misleading given there are serious health complications associated with either elevated or low blood hormone levels including osteoporosis, blood clots and liver complications. International best practice guidelines for trans healthcare recommend regular blood tests to monitor hormone levels.”

Despite calls from Transgress the NGS to remove the current policy, the NGS has “failed to respond to the concerns which have been raise about this policy on multiple occasions despite having an obligation to listen to the voices of the patients they are purportedly set up to serve.”

As the NGS have yet to respond to these calls, the open letter calls on the Irish Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to address the issue. 

“It is now up to the Minister to intervene,” the letter reads. “We are asking the Minister to direct the NGS to cease advising GPs not to provide blood tests and HRT prescriptions to their trans patients and; secondly, to inform GPs that they can provide these services and guidance on how to do so”.

The open letter ends by sharing a statistic from Transgender Europe, which reports that Ireland is the worst country in Europe for trans healthcare. 

“This is a national disgrace and must be rectified immediately through positive steps such as those we are demanding here,” Transgress the NGS concluded. “The government cannot continue to fail the trans community on this critical issue”. 

Transgress the NGS is calling on community members to add their signatures to the open letter, available to read and sign here



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