Trans people face agonising 10-year wait for healthcare in Ireland

A trans protester holds a placard saying trans liberation now during a demonstration

Ireland has been ranked the worst place in the EU for accessing trans healthcare, with the system being “bogged down by waiting times” cited as an area of concern.

Transgender Europe (TGEU), a network of more than 200 trans-rights organisations, found of 27 EU member states, Ireland had the worst provision of healthcare for trans people, with Malta coming out on top.

The countries, laid out on a colour-coded map, were ranked by six criteria, with Ireland scoring just one point out of a potential 12.

The countries were ranked on the types of trans healthcare available, if a psychiatric diagnosis is required before hormonal treatment or surgery, waiting times, if any group is excluded or made to wait longer to access trans healthcare, and the ages of those allowed hormones and puberty blockers.

Ireland’s single point was given for the provision of trans healthcare, however, it scored worst in the EU on waiting times.

TGEU claimed that in Ireland, trans people could expect to wait “between two-and-a-half and 10 years from requesting to see a specialist in trans healthcare to seeing one”.

Earlier in 2022, it was found that Ireland’s only gender clinic is so short-staffed it can’t deal with the demand of 300 patients per year.

TGEU said in a statement: “Access to trans-specific healthcare varies widely in the EU.

“For instance, Malta has implemented a model of healthcare that is grounded in self-determination and based on informed consent… In Ireland, the system is bogged down by waiting times of over seven years to see a healthcare professional.”

It added that the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine had “alarming impacts” on access to medication and hormones for trans people in certain areas of the EU.

“At the same time, the need for trans-specific healthcare and the very existence of trans identities are also facing growing attacks from anti-gender and anti-rights groups,” TGEU said.

“This constitutes a real threat to the delivery of accessible, affordable, and quality depathologised trans-specific healthcare and risks undoing the decades of progress that the community has fought hard to achieve.”

Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin (TIPD) told PinkNews in a statement: “We are not shocked by the news that Ireland has the lowest score in Europe for trans healthcare. Trans people have been saying this for years. Trans healthcare is only getting worse.

“With only one clinic in Ireland for trans adults, the current waiting list to be seen is estimated to be six years or more. When you’re finally seen, you’re put through a dehumanising and humiliating assessment and asked invasive questions.

“Trans people have reportedly been denied HRT due to numerous reasons, such as having a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, or a personality disorder, for being on social welfare or not answering those highly sexualised questions ‘the right way.'”

TIPD added that due to “failures” of trans healthcare provision, trans people are left with the alternatives of private clinics, crowdfunding, receiving care abroad, or even “self-administering” hormones purchased online.

“Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin advocates for the implementation of an informed consent-based model and for gender-affirming care to be GP-led,” the group added.

“Trans people should be empowered to make decisions about their transition themselves.”