12 Jun 6/12 Media Release: Health Network Applauds SRS Coverage and Calls to Remove Remaining Barriers

Halifax, NS – The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network applauds the NS government’s decision to cover sex reassignment surgery (SRS). We congratulate the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP), Trans*form Health Care, and all other allies who have worked diligently to secure the rights to healthcare for everyone.  Furthermore, we call upon the Nova Scotia government remove all remaining barriers to receiving SRS.

“Access to these procedures will mean a lot to transgender Nova Scotians, who have long had to make the tough choice of paying out of pocket, moving to another province, or simply not getting surgery,” says James Hutt, provincial coordinator of the Health Network. “It is wonderful that the government is finally acting on the needs of the transgender community.”

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dave Wilson, has rightly called SRS “an issue of dignity, and equality.” The decision upholds the principles of the Canada Health Act and ensures that individuals are not financially burdened by medically necessary procedures. This progressive and inclusive change makes NS the 8th province to cover the surgery, and goes a long way to helping all Nova Scotians lead happier and, healthier lives.

The government will immediately remove section 4.8 of the MSI physician’s manual, prohibited SRS for public funding. While cost is no longer a barrier, there is no estimate for when surgeries will actually be approved, and there remains considerable bureaucratic challenges.

Nova Scotia has fallen behind other provinces on access to health care for members of the LGBTQ community. Funding SRS is an important step in bridging that gap, but there is much work left to be done.

“The government has made an important first step by removing the prohibition on funding sex reassignment surgery, but there are still important decisions to make before we celebrate,” says Hutt. “The government has not specified if transgender Nova Scotians will receive coverage for their whole transition, or just the surgery. We are also waiting for a timeline for implementing these measures.”

 

The Network is calling on its members and allies to show their support by:

  • Contacting the Minister & MLAs to reaffirm your support for funding of SRS (Find your MLA).
  • Contacting the opposition parties and ask them to state their support for SRS funding.
  • Writing letters to the editor in support.

Once again, congratulations to all of our friends and allies that work to make transrights, human rights. And congratulations to Nova Scotia for taking another step to ensuring that Medicare covers all of us.

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For more information, please contact:

James Hutt
Provincial Coordinator
Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network
Cell: 902-222-1186