Monash Medical Centre’s Gender Dysphoria Clinic has re-opened its doors.
New clinic director Dr Fintan Harte told Southern Star it was business as usual for the gender reassignment service and said the trans community should not be concerned by recent negative publicity.
-œMy reassurance to the trans community is, one, that we’re back open for business and two, the one thing I’ll be doing as the new director is consulting with them widely and I’ve done so already to see what their views are and how the clinic can change … in order to serve them better, he said.
Harte said the clinic had addressed concerns raised after a recent internal Southern Health procedural review and would soon advertise for a new psychiatrist and other professionals.
-œI think certainly in the past the clinic was seen very much as an assessment clinic, and I think there will be a move to see the clinic doing more treatment, he said. -œIn that context certainly clinic staff will be involved in counselling and psychotherapy.
Harte has replaced Dr Trudy Kennedy who left after allegations of misdiagnoses were made against the clinic.
A report in The Sunday Age in May this year stated three former patients had taken out legal action against the clinic.
The report said at least eight former patients claimed they had been misdiagnosed, with some claiming to have attempted suicide after reassignment surgery.
Harte insisted the claims are incorrect, but said he had not seen to the patients involved in legal action personally.
TransGender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner said the trans community would be releived to hear the clinic had re-opened.
-œI personally think it is great the storm has been weathered, she said. -œThis is especially vital for those on low incomes who cannot afford the extra costs that may be involved with surgery overseas.
Goldner said the trans community had been upset at the clinic’s closure. She said members of fundamentalist Christian groups had placed a significant amount of pressure on the clinic in an attempt to force its closure.
-œThat a highly rational decision has been made, despite the efforts of the religious right, is a testimony to the strength and determination of the trans and allied communities and that sensible people are not going to be fooled by the self-proclaimed hotlines to heaven, Goldner said.