Hong Kong hospital sets up one-stop clinic for gender reassignment and psychiatric treatment

It currently takes 70 weeks for patients to be seen for the first time

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 10:28pm

Hongkongers needing mental or physical treatment to do with their gender will have a one-stop clinic from next month, when a designated centre opens at Prince of Wales Hospital.

The opening comes after the number of patients with gender identity disorder seeking psychiatric help in public hospitals doubled in the past five years, from 75 in 2011/12 to 158 in 2015/16.

Gender reassignment surgery, which was performed on less than 20 patients with gender identity disorder every year, has already been taken over by the Sha Tin hospital from Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai last year, as the city’s only surgeon specialising in the procedure retired last year.

Currently there are around 160 patients with gender identity disorder seeking treatment at public hospitals, with two thirds of them at Prince of Wales.

Professor Linda Lam, the Hospital Authority’s coordinator for psychiatry in New Territories East, said centralising the service was expected to speed up waiting times for people with gender identity disorder. Currently it takes 70 weeks for patients in the district to be seen for the first time.

“There will be more psychiatric doctors added to our cluster because of the extra service. Technically speaking the waiting time would be less than 70 weeks after October 1,” said Lam.

While the clinic will have psychiatrists and nurses to serve, the hospital’s multidisciplinary team for sex reassignment surgeries will have 12 workers, including surgeons.