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Monday, September 12, 2016, 15:59

One-stop service for gender identity disorder patients

By Willa Wu
One-stop service for gender identity disorder patients
Prince of Wales Hospital e xtension b lock. (Photo / Hong Kong government )

HONG KONG – Beginning next month, the New Territories East hospital cluster will provide centralized medical services for patient experiencing gender identity disorder, a condition afflicting people in conflict with the gender assigned them at birth.

The cluster’s chief executive Hung Chi-tim announced on Monday that the tertiary care center will provide multi-disciplinary care for patients with gender identity disorder (GID), including endocrine services, plastic and reconstructive surgery, urology, psychiatric services and obstetrics and gynecology services.

The one-stop service center will be in the Li Ka Shing Psychiatric Specialist Out-patient Department extension of Prince of Wales Hospital.

Hung noted that the center is capable of handling 250 patients for the first year and performing 15 to 20 sexual reassignment surgeries annually.

The current annual number of patients with GID in the care of the Hospital Authority is around 160. Prior to 2015, they received psychiatric assessments in each of the seven clusters under the Hospital Authority. Before 2015, sexual reassignment surgeries were carried out only at Runttonjee Hospital, said Hung.

Roughly 12 designated medical staff will work at the one-stop service center at Prince of Wales Hospital, including one psychiatrist and two physicians. Meanwhile, therapists to assist patients in language and mental health re-adjustment are will also be assigned to the center, said Lam Chiu-wa, the cluster's coordinator.

She said the center would provide more concentrated assessment and treatment, ultimately saving time for the patients.

Hung noted that patients would consult the psychiatrist first, before any final decision on getting surgery for sexual reassignment.

Hou See-ming, consultant in the Department of Surgery at Prince of Wales Hospital said the psychiatric assessment may last one to two years before the psychiatrist refers patients for surgery.

The numbers of GID patients who received psychiatric assessment from Hospital Authority rose from 75 in 2011/12 to 158 in 2015/16. The number of patients who actually underwent sexual reassignment surgery has never been higher than 10 a year.

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