From Andrea B.
August 24 2009
NHS in Scotland spent £1.5m on sex changes
DOCTORS in Scotland have spent more than £1.5m over the past five years referring transsexuals for sex-change operations on the NHS.
More than 100 patients have undergone “gender reassignment surgery” at private clinics and hospitals in England because Scotland lacks the specialist facilities needed to carry out the operations.
A landmark ruling in 1998 by the Court of Appeal in England which recognised gender reassignment therapy as a necessary medical treatment that should be available on the NHS has meant health boards across the UK are required to offer transsexuals hormone treatment and surgery.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, responding to a request under Freedom of Information laws, revealed it spent £506,000 on surgery for nine women and 22 men.
NHS Lothian spent £264,000 on surgery for 12 patients and NHS Ayrshire and Arran paid £226,000 for operations on 20 patients.
The vast majority of the operations were carried out at private clinics, including in London’s Harley Street, though some NHS hospitals in England were also used.
Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients’ Association said: “The NHS should be looking at making this available in Scotland.”
There are an estimated 5000 transsexuals in the UK.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “The NHS carries out certain gender realignment procedures if it is clinically considered to be appropriate and if the patient fulfils certain clinical criteria.”
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “Where the clinical expertise for these procedures does not exist in Scotland, patients are referred for treatment in England. NHS treatments for Scottish patients which take place in England are paid for by a fund pooled from the 14 NHS boards.”
© 2009 Newsquest (Herald & Times) Limited.