Gender dysphoria clinic to receive extra funding
The Victorian Government has announced there will be extra funding for the Gender Dysphoria Clinic at the Royal Children's Hospital, after speculation that the clinic was initially left out of the budget.
Demand for services at the clinic have increased, with waiting lists now blown out to over a year. The new funding will assist the clinic to deal with the increase in demand.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the statement on social media platform Periscope, where users were able to send in questions directly to the Premier.
"There is more money for these gender dysphoria services," Andrews said.
"There is extra money there for that service, and the RHC more broadly.
"You can have the best building and the best staff, but unless they've got a strong budget, they can't do the work they're trained to do."
Minister for Equality Martin Foley told MCV he and the Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, had met with Dr Michelle Telfer, who runs the Gender Dysphoria Clinic.
"We are very big supporters of her program and the way it can turn around the lives of these very vulnerable young people.
"We are talking to the clinic about waiting lists and resourcing and working with them on that issue. We hope to have news on this in coming weeks."
Minister Foley told Dean Beck on JOY 94.9 that the clinic is a "national treasure" that "saves lives", which saw nine referrals in one-day alone last week.
"This is just unbelievably successful, but a hugely stressed program that needs support.
"That clinic is at the heart of recognising that trans issues and gender questioning young people finding who they are in a safe and respectful environment that crosses both medical, social and mental health issues is done in a respectful way," he said.
Sally Goldner from Transgender Victoria echoed Minister Foley's comments that extra funding for the clinic will save lives.
"The funding is welcome as the distress at puberty, a major time of heightened body awareness for TGD people, can often be significant.
"The increase in funding will reduce waiting times, in all probability reduce risk and is therefore most likely to be life saving," she said.
Goldner also said there is a need to support older groups as well.
"It is equally important that the needs of all TGD people of all ages and parts of the "kaleidoscope" are supported and we look to further funding for adults, the range of TGD groups and for education for new and existing health professionals."
Before the election, Greens Spokesperson for LGBTI issues Sam Hibbins and Australian Sex Party MP Fiona Patten both expressed the need for the Clinic to receive extra funding to cope with demand.
The Royal Children's Hospital was approached by MCV for comment.
Image: George Groves