HSE gender identity panel 'as close to a farce as you can get', says expert

HSE gender identity panel 'as close to a farce as you can get', says expert

The HSE’s new gender identity panel has been branded “as close to a farce as you can get” by an expert on hormone management.

Professor Donal O’Shea, Endocrinologist at Loughlinstown and St Vincent’s Hospitals, told Newstalk Breakfast that the HSE panel does not include any clinicians experienced in treating transgender patients.

“You have to have local clinical experience of managing a condition that is changing and changing very rapidly.”

Prof. O’Shea had been offered a position on the panel but had declined, he said, because the Ministerial nominee is an advocate “who has frequently trashed our services”.

He said that the condition requires a lot of support from a range of health professionals.

He believes, he said, that 50% of individuals who have gender identity issues also have mental health issues for which they need assistance.

However, the Ministerial nominee is in favour of the self decide model.

Prof O’Shea said: “For 50% that might work out, but 50% are highly vulnerable.

"That’s a highly dangerous approach as there needs to be a lot of work before their gender affirming journey can be a positive one.”

Prof O’Shea said that for him to sit on a panel with a person opposed to the model of care he supported would be similar to Brexit negotiations and “wouldn’t go anywhere”.

With the expansion of the team with which he works, he is hopeful that another member will become a member of the HSE panel.

However, he warned that a committee “with no clinical experience” in the management of gender issues “isn’t going anywhere”.

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