SUPPORT and counselling services for the trans* community in Queensland’s second most-populated region will remain as a part of Gold Coast Health’s broader sexual health strategy despite reports stating services had been cut.
The future direction for funding of health services that include the Queensland’s trans* community will also feature in the state government’s first budget to be handed down next month.
“Gold Coast Health has never provided a gender-specific service,” a Gold Coast Health spokesperson told the Star Observer.
“That said, we do provide a consultancy and support service for general practitioners and psychologists working on the Gold Coast with transgender clients.”
While Brisbane has a trans*-specific gender clinic run out of the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC), the Gold Coast City Council has never offered similar services but includes resources for the community in its sexual health strategy.
“Demand for Sexual Health services on the Gold Coast has risen by 40 per cent during the past four years and, as such, sexual health funding and resources are focused in a manner that best supports the community in the management of communicable diseases,” the spokesperson said.
“Advice and consultations for clients with complex care issues are offered and will continue to be provided by Gold Coast Health.”
In the Bulletin’s article, Bundall psychiatrist Dr Morris Bersin said trans* health services were “extremely scarce” on the Gold Coast.
Bersin said the provision of local health services for Gold Coast’s trans* community was a matter for the region’s hospital and health service, and that the Health Minister’s department in next month’s budget will address funding to sexual health services across Queensland.
Restoration of the Brisbane Sexual Health Clinic, Biala, and QuAC have already been promised by the recently-elected Palaszczuk-Labor government, all of which offer services for the trans* community.
“The Queensland government has committed to reinstating the Biala sexual health clinic in Brisbane and developing a statewide Sexual Health Strategy in partnership with community organisations,” Health Minister spokesperson Cameron Dick told the Star Observer.
“A steering committee has been established to guide the development of the strategy, due for completion by 30 June 2016. Funding for these measures is expected to be announced as part of next month’s State Budget.”
The strategy will also consider the needs of all Queenslanders along with specific groups such as the trans* community, the provision of such services and education.
“The strategy will ensure that the mix of services best meets the needs of the specific at-risk population. It will be developed in collaboration and consultation with stakeholders including health consumers, other government departments and community organisations,” Dick said.
“To inform the development of the strategy there will be a state-wide sexual health service mapping and targeted consultation process.
“It is expected that the strategy will be completed by the end of June 2016.”