HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is eliminating the requirement that patients seeking gender-affirming care must get multiple letters from medical specialists before obtaining treatment or surgery.
Health Minister Michelle Thompson said in a statement today the change will reduce barriers to health care and cut wait times.
Gender-affirming care includes hormone treatment and surgery that help people match their physical appearance to their gender identity.
Thompson says she’s heard from Nova Scotians that the process to access gender-affirming surgery, which can take years, is needlessly difficult and comes with “painful delays.”
Previously, applicants for gender-affirming surgeries required a mental health assessment letter, a letter of support from a specialist, and a third letter from a clinic or family doctor confirming the patient will be cared for post-surgery.
Now, only the mental health letter will be required for those who have surgery in Nova Scotia, and the post-operative care letter will only be needed for people who leave the province for surgery.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press