Friday January 15, 2016

Canada's health care doesn't meet the needs of transgender patients

Dr. Amy Bourns, says it is essential medical schools address the specific care that transgender patients need in their curriculum.

Dr. Amy Bourns, says it is essential medical schools address the specific care that transgender patients need in their curriculum. (CBC)

Listen 23:22

It's no exaggeration to say that access to health care, and surgeries, can be a life or death issue for transgender people. 

When it comes to trangender surgeries,  nine out of ten provinces do offer some access... but there's only one Canadian hospital – in Montreal – that provides the full range of procedures.

A.J. Ripley is a writer, academic and transgender activist who has been navigating the healthcare system in New Brunswick.He joined Lara Rae from Fredericton. 

We did ask New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau for a comment on his province's policy. He told us , in part.... "We are aware of the issue and work continues on the gender reassignment surgeries file."

On Hold: Investigating Transgender Health Access in Canada

Sex reassignment surgery is a huge issue on its own... but for many transgender people, it's one of the final steps at the end of a very long road through our medical system.

To discuss the challenges transgender Canadians face in getting the healthcare they need, and what needs to be done to make the situation better, we were joined by:

  • Dr. Kris Wells is the Faculty Director at the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta. He was in Edmonton.
  • Dr. Amy Bourns is the Faculty Lead for LGBTQ Health Education at the University of Toronto as well as a Family Physician at Sherbourne Health Centre. She was in Toronto.
  • Rachel Lauren Clark is a trans activist who has navigated the healthcare system here in Ontario.
     

This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch.