THE Victorian state government has announced an addition $6 million over four years to the Royal Children’s Hospital to help reduce the growing waiting list for its gender dysphoria service.

Due to several years of neglect, young trans* and gender diverse Victorians have been forced to wait more than 12 months for medical and counselling services at the hospital based in Parkville, Melbourne.

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The current Andrews Labor government has blamed the previous Coalition government for the lack of funding in recent years.

“Demand for gender dysphoria services in Victoria continues to grow – but the Liberals sat on their hands for four years,” Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

The Gender Dysphoria Service provides medical and mental health assessment services, treatment and management services, and supports children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria.

The number of referrals to the service has steadily increased, from seven in 2007, to 104 in 2014.

According to the government, it’s estimated that between 120 and 150 new referrals will be received this year alone.

This additional funding will ensure children and adolescents can access the specialist doctors and support services they need in a timely way.

This funding is part of the Labor Government’s boost to Victoria’s health system in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget, with an additional $2.1 billion for hospitals, ambulances, health programs and mental health services.

Equality Minister Martin Foley said the hospital’s Gender Dysphoria Service “makes a huge difference to the well-being of very vulnerable young people and their families”.

“We know that timely access to multidisciplinary support is crucial for young people approaching puberty and experiencing gender dysphoria, and we’re providing this funding to bring down the waiting list,” he said.

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