Trans kids are being referred to a healthcare service that ‘doesn’t even exist yet’
Trans children in Ireland are being referred to a new healthcare service that does not yet exist, according to a leading charity.
The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said it has been “reliably informed” that the gender identity service for teenagers, based in Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin, is not receiving further referrals.
Operation of the trans youth service previously relied on the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the UK, which provided psychological assessments for trans kids under the treatment abroad scheme.
TENI has learned that this service will now cease and that trans youth will be re-referred to a new service in Ireland.
However, the service has not yet been set up, meaning trans children and teenagers, along with their parents, will be left in limbo as they wait for health service to take action.
The news will likely come as a blow to trans youth and their families in Ireland, where many people have already spent two years on a waiting list to be seen by GIDS in the UK.
According to TENI, between 70 and 100 families in Ireland will be impacted by the decision to cease the service. The charity lambasted the HSE, Ireland’s health service, for failing to implement “a supportive and functioning gender identity service” for trans youth.
The charity said the “very concerning situation” has occurred because the health service has failed “to develop and implement a proper multi-disciplinary team to support the provision of care for young trans people in Ireland.”
The failure to offer healthcare to transgender children in Ireland flies in the face of several recently-published reports in Ireland which identified shortcomings in the system and suggested measures that should be taken to implement vital care for trans youth.
Trans children are being ‘discarded’ by Ireland’s health system
“With the ceasing of the Crumlin Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Care program transgender young people and their families are left with no Irish support, and no path forward,” TENI said.
“The care provided to transgender people, and transgender children has regressed over the last two years, despite numerous reports recommending the development and delivery of essential services for this young vulnerable and at risk group.”
The charity has called on Stephen Donnelly, minister for health in Ireland, to clarify how his department plans to ensure trans young people and their families can continue to access vital healthcare.
TENI urged the HSE to “immediately rectify” the situation and to end the “sub-standard approach” to trans healthcare in Ireland.
Éirénne Carroll, CEO of TENI, told PinkNews that they are deeply concerned about the impact these failures could have on trans youth.
These children deserve our support, and they have been promised affirming and seamless care.
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“Without a pathway forward, transgender children and their families are left with no Irish-based solution and will have to explore private healthcare and international providers for treatment,” Carroll said.
“This will cause undue financial stress to families, and also increase the mental health stressors that trans children already face.
“Both outcomes are beyond disappointing, and could have been easily avoided if care was taken to address the multiple strategies and reports that called for the HSE to implement better care and hire staff.”
Carroll added: “By refusing to process referrals and holding the referrals in limbo, trans children are being discarded by our public healthcare leaders. These children deserve our support, and they have been promised affirming and seamless care. It is time to take action to ensure that is the case.”
PinkNews has contacted the Department of Health and the HSE for comment.