A new report by ACON, a health promotion organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in NSW, says the state is facing "a crisis" in addressing the health needs of transgender and gender diverse residents.
While the Victorian government dedicated $3.4 million to increased services for transgender people in 2018, the report found there was an "absence" of funding and training in NSW's primary health system.
ACON's blueprint follows calls from parents of transgender teenagers in the region to expand mental health and medical services for their children. They say their offspring are suffering due to a "reluctance" of some health professionals to engage in treatments, as well as long waiting times to access specialist services.
The report said that apart from prioritising the creation of dedicated services that are accessible and affordable for transgender and gender diverse people, general practitioners must also "play a role in ensuring that people have access to healthcare".
ACON said at least three public services had developed a focus on providing care and "gender-affirming" treatment for transgender people in the Hunter. However, these organisations were trying to meet a growing demand with "very little dedicated resources". They belong to a small pool of similar services in the state.
A public gender clinic for adults run out of John Hunter Hospital and the Newcastle Community Health Centre has seen 120 new clients over the past 18 months. Last year 60 transgender minors sought puberty blocking and hormone replacement therapies at the pediatric endocrinology unit at John Hunter Children's Hospital.
"The creation of these services has arisen largely by local advocacy, coordination and goodwill facilitated by the Hunter Gender Alliance, a charity that includes trans and gender diverse community members, health practitioners and service providers," the report said.
A study conducted in the Hunter New England region in 2016, mentioned in the report, found that clinicians were significantly more comfortable in facilitating healthcare for transgender people after a single education session.