Today I had the privilege of welcoming the Minister of Health to our Preston health centre, to launch an important new service for trans, gender diverse and non-binary Victorians.
I’m so pleased to be able to tell you all about this important work.
In partnership with Austin Health, Ballarat Community Health and Thorne Harbour Health, we will address current gaps in health and wellbeing services. It will provide inclusive, safe and gender affirming medical clinics, allied health services and counselling for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people. The clinics will be based at our Preston (PANCH) health centre and in Ballarat (run by Ballarat Community Health).
The trans, gender diverse and non-binary community experiences high rates of mental health issues, stigma, discrimination, and disadvantage. Accessing safe and inclusive health services is critical to improving lives.
One per cent of Victorians identify as gender diverse, and many report feeling isolated from healthcare providers and commonly discriminated against when trying to get appropriate care.
Through this project, we will be working to break down this community faces when trying to access healthcare. Peer negotiators will play a key role in this work. They are members of the trans, gender diverse and non-binary community who will support clients to navigate services and make sure their voices are heard.
Whilst our clinics will model good practice, we will also be rolling out State-wide training for health professionals, so that more health workers understand how to appropriately deliver quality care to trans, gender diverse and non-binary people. Importantly, this will be co-designed by members of the trans, gender diverse and non-binary community.
At the launch today, Jenny Mikakos MP, the Victorian Minister of Health spoke about why this initiative the Department for Health and Human Services have chosen to fund this vital service.
As Dr Clare Headland – an active participant in the working group that helped guide the establishment of this initiative – so eloquently said: “What we are doing here is not just making another multidisciplinary clinic, we are really saving lives”.
Not only is this a critical step in improving State-wide health and wellbeing services, it will be an important demonstration of what we can achieve when we work together. By bringing together specialists in primary, community and preventative health, with leaders in trans and gender diverse health and wellbeing we know we can significantly improve health care access and experience.
Because we truly believe that everyone has the right to equal, inclusive healthcare.
And I’m proud that Your Community Health is leading the way.