Tue, 31 Jan at 19:32
As you may know, Focus: the Identity Trust is a registered charity that offers support to and advocacy for transgender and intersex individuals and their family members. Within our constituency, several people have been discharged from or are about to be discharged from their programmes of care as provided by the Gender Identity Clinic. Particularly in the prevailing circumstances, in which political uncertainty (and therefore uncertainty in respect of all aspects of policy) combines with challenges in having access to the services of General Medical Practitioners, we are very concerned about pathways for any of our members who may require medical interventions at any time following their discharge from the Clinic. Our specific questions are as follows, and we would find it both extremely helpful and very reassuring to have answers to our concerns in addition to any relevant guidance, advice and direction that you may be able to provide:
Will it continue to be the case that funding for any necessary post-operative surgical repairs is covered by the funding stream that provided the original treatment?
If not, what is the procedure for securing such treatments should they be necessary?
Once an individual has been discharged from the GIC, will the Clinic continue to have a role in providing future care for the person, and if so, what will this role be?
What procedures are in place to ensure that patients whose surgeries have a ‘lifespan’ will be able to secure any essential repeat surgery at a future date?
Will current arrangements that ensure a GP may, if necessary, directly refer patients back to the surgeon who originally provided treatment via the Unscheduled Aftercare Programs remain in place?
If not, what alternative arrangements will be put in place?
In addition to directing this letter to you at the Clinic, we are copying it to the former Health Minister (Stormont), the former Chair of the Stormont Health Committee, the former convenor of the Gender Identity Pathway Review Panel, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and to the Permanent Secretary with responsibility for health care provision. It is also our intention to publish this message as an open letter on our charity’s website as it is of great interest and concern to the constituency for whom we provide representation.
With very many thanks, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Ms Susan Fleming
on behalf of the trustees of Focus the Identity Trust
6th February 2023
We have now been advised that our letter of 31 January 2023 is being addressed by Belfast Health Trust as a Freedom of Information enquiry and we understand we can expect to receive a response by 3 March 2023.
As soon as we have answers to our questions we will make these available here.