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Improvements in transgender care too slow

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 26 January 2020

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

...with barely reduced waiting lists for transgenders. This is the result of research that Dutch Health Minister Bruno Bruins sent on to the Dutch Lower House.

In May, 2018, the Dutch Gay Interest Group COC and Transvision together with Transgender Network Netherlands, TNN, called for swift and vigorous measures. A coordinator was appointed a year ago to help sort out the stagnation in transgender care. But the situation is improving at too slow a pace.

The most important conclusion as stated by the supervisor in a letter to the House, is that there has been barely any noticeable reduction in the waiting lists compared to Spring of this year.
There is some new perspective however, as many, notably smaller, care providers have substantially increased their capacity for next year. Transvision’ chairperson Lisa van Ginneken remarked: “Unfortunately this does not yet translate into shorter waiting lists and improved care, and that is what’s really needed. Shortening waiting lists is a priority we all need to work on together; More care providers and simpler procedures”.

In an accompanying letter to the Lower House, Minister Bruins stated that much has been achieved in the past year, but also acknowledged that a lot more has to be done to reduce waiting lists. TNN also supports Transvision’s plea that care providers and health insurers need to do a lot more to adequately address the transgender care problem. The coordinator has, together with Transvision, conducted research into the need for transgender care.

The conclusions show that around 80 percent of transgenders agree that the waiting period and the intake procedure, that take around eight to nine months, are much too long. It is alarming to see how often this long waiting period leads to feelings of depression, suicide and social isolation.

TNN and Transvision have long advocated for decentralization of transgender care and more involvement of the transgender community in the treatment process which was also supported by the conducted research.

Aike Pronk of TNN said: “It is a positive development that smaller care providers have increased their capacity, but there are many more care providers and institutions in the Netherlands that could contribute to shortening waiting lists. I would therefore like to make an appeal to all local hospitals and Mental Health Care Clinics to consider looking into the situation and take action”.
Equal Say Allowing transgenders an equal say in decisions whether or not to receive treatment would also help to reduce waiting lists. Time and money spent on diagnosing could also be invested in support during and after the medical phase of the procedure.

Pronk went on to say: “According to reports that I have received from numerous transgenders, adequate support and after care are severely lacking. It would be a great improvement if all Dutch transgenders received the care they need, without the unnecessarily long diagnosis process which is often seen as a barrier”.   Along with the publication of the Quality Standard for Somatic Transgender Care, the minister and the Dutch Health Insurance companies have today decided to extend the coordinator’s investigation.

Unfortunately, this does not necessarily guarantee an equal say for trangsgenders.
TNN, together with Transvision will continue their struggle to achieve this.




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