Recently, I was shocked and disappointed to read that people waiting for transgender healthcare spent up to three years on the wrong waiting lists after the HSE “misplaced” their referrals. The National Gender Service (NGS) at St Colmcille’s Hospital in Dublin, which runs transgender healthcare for the HSE, recently confirmed that 109 patient referrals were misplaced on the wrong waiting lists.
I immediately drew this to the attention of the Minister for Health, and asked about his plans to ensure the necessary resources were immediately put in place to resolve this issue and to ensure redress is provided to those affected.
In his response, the Minister for Health said:
“Last week Ireland East Hospital Group notified officials of my Department of an incident whereby over 100 patients of the National Gender Service at St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown who should have been given an appointment for their initial visit, had not as yet received an appointment date.
“This is a serious incident which has resulted in regrettable delays for patients waiting for their initial appointment to the Service. However, I have been advised that the National Gender Service at St. Columcille’s Hospital has conducted a full review of their service and put a plan of corrective action in place. All of the patients concerned have been contacted to advise them of the incident and to assure them that they have been reinstated correctly onto the waiting list.
“The Service has also arranged for each person affected to be assigned a case manager over the coming weeks.
“Furthermore, the Service will also be arranging extra clinics in order to minimise any increase in waiting times.
“Finally, I wish to assure the Deputy that officials of my Department will continue to keep this matter under review through the regular governance meetings which are held with the HSE.”
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.
For family members of trans people, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) runs a Gender Identity Family Support Line, which runs every Sunday from 6pm to 9pm on 01 907 3707.