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Sherbourne Health Centre to expand trans care

Increase in provincial funding means Toronto health centre can do more for trans patients

Ontario Minister of Health Eric Hoskins announced on Nov 6, 2015, that the government will allow healthcare providers from across the province to conduct initial assessments for sex-reassignment surgery. Credit: Arshy Mann

Sherbourne Health Centre is expanding the way it will deliver care to trans patients.

The health care provider will be creating a comprehensive trans care hub that will add four beds to their 10-bed recovery suite.

“This expansion will allow us to open up new beds with specialized clinical staff to support trans clients after their transition-related surgeries,” says Graeme Imrie, a spokesperson for Sherbourne Health Centre.

The program is focused on people who are homeless or under-housed and need a place to recover after a transition-related surgery.

Sherbourne Health will also be providing more mental health support for trans clients and providing help with navigating various bureaucracies that many trans people encounter regularly.

Imrie points to helping clients coordinate with their benefits provider or assisting with arranging transition-related travel as examples of what they’re aiming to do.

Funding will come from the Ontario Ministry of Health, which has pledged $2 million a year to increase access to trans health care. Much of that funding will go to Sherbourne Health Centre.

“It’s tremendous. It’s going to have a positive impact on a lot of trans people for years to come we hope,” Imrie says.

The centre currently serves around 600 trans clients and operates Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO), a program that provides training to medical professionals to provide appropriate care to trans people.

In November 2015, the provincial government announced that primary care providers would be able to provide assessments and referrals for OHIP-funded transition-related surgeries.

Since that announcement, RHO has gotten more interest from health care providers in Ontario, according to Imrie.

“Those inquiries are coming from providers who are either interested in learning more or anxious to learn more so that they can serve their clients properly,” he says.

According to Imrie, interest hasn’t just been coming in from large cities, but also smaller urban centres and rural parts of the province.

However, he cautions that people who are already on the waiting list at CAMH should not remove themselves until there’s more certainty over who can provide the referrals.

For now, the increased government funding is allowing Sherbourne Health to do more for trans people in Toronto.

“We’re excited about our ability to grow and do more for trans clients,” Imrie says.


Editor’s note, March 22, 2016: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Sherbourne Health Centre’s recovery suite had 20 beds.

This story is filed under News & Ideas, Trans Health, Toronto, News
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