Clearer path to surgery needed for transgender people: UBC study

Authors recommend training more surgeons and doctors

Transgender people face fewer barriers to gender reassignment surgery than they did in the past, but the steps they need to take to get there are still not clear, a UBC study suggests.

The study, released Tuesday by the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre, surveyed 337 transgender Canadians and held in-depth interviews with 35 people in B.C. who had received a readiness assessment for surgery or had already had the surgery.

Sixty per cent of respondents had to travel two or more hours to have surgery, often leading to increased complications. Most patients also had to pay their own aftercare and travel costs.

Currently, publicly funded chest or breast surgeries are mostly available only in Vancouver and Victoria, while lower body surgeries are only available in Montreal, or outside of Canada.

According to study author Elizabeth Saewyc, a UBC nursing professor, many primary care physicians lack the necessary training to direct patients or provide aftercare.

But even before surgery, patients often face long, confusing delays. Forty per cent of respondents found it difficult to find a doctor who could clear them for surgery. The patients said wait times of five months to a year were common.

Patients with a body mass index of over 35 are not eligible for surgery through Trans Care BC – a barrier the organization has said it is working to fix.

There were positives in the study results. Half of the participants did not have to pay for their assessment appointment and nearly two-thirds of patients had their surgery funded entirely by government healthcare.

The study authors focused their recommendations on a clearer, more streamlined path to surgery. To reduce travel and wait times, the study recommended training more assessors and surgeons in different regions of the province, as well as providing assessments by video.

It also recommended that the province educate primary care physicians on helping patients navigate the system both before and after surgery.

Just Posted

South Okanagan curling team sweeps into BC Games

Team consisting of Summerland and Penticton players qualifies for the BC Games

Penticton hospital fourth busiest in the region for opioid overdose

Incarceration and residential treatment could be adding to the number of deaths… Continue reading

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Kelowna - Students were unaware of resources on campus

OK Falls pot shop vandalized a week after opening

Windows were smashed Wednesday evening and spray paint called the owner a “goof” and a “pedo”

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

Physical altercation turns to online threats in Celista

Police were called to a Shuswap ice rink after a group of men physically fought each other

Arson suspect heads to court

Vernon man suspected of starting a string of 2014 fires in Vernon

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read