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Clinic providing gender assessment has funding restored

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A Vancouver clinic that provides gender assessment services faced a roadblock last month when the programs yearly funding ran out in October but the government has now reversed its earlier decision.

Dr Andrea Szewchuk with the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre says hundreds of patients will benefit from the ministry’s decision. “My take on right now is that it is a win in terms of getting the funding and you know if we are indeed able to reform some of the way services are offered in the future then it will continue to be a win for the community and there is a lot of work that needs to be done.” Szewchuk explains. “So this [is] what seems like a pretty big statement around not only raising the funding for assessment until April of next year but also a broader statement about the provision of transgender services and transgender surgical assessments in the province.”

“We are committed to supporting transgender people and recognize that we can improve access and delivery of these important health services,” says Health Minister Terry Lake in a statement. “That is why beginning April 2015, the Provincial Health Services Authority will assume responsibility for provincial co-ordination of transgender services in BC and will look to expand capacity for these services in consultation with clinical experts and stakeholders from the transgender community.”

In order for an individual to undergo gender reassignment surgery, they must first complete a medical and psychological assessment to confirm diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Since 2008 the government has approved and paid for over 500 procedures.