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RCH News: New clinical pathway for trans and gender diverse children

From the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne regards changes to their clinical pathways:

The RCH Gender Service has been able to expand its clinical services following the generous grant provided by the Victorian State Government in 2015. We have recruited and trained our new paediatricians, child psychiatrists and psychologists and the clinics are now running at full capacity.

Earlier this year, we sought feedback from parents and young people about our service and how we could improve it. We are greatly appreciative of the families who contributed to this and the results from these surveys will be published in time. In the meantime, we have modified our intake and assessment procedures to respond to some of the feedback. We are hoping that the new changes will significantly reduce the waiting list for new referrals and provide more support for parents and families whilst waiting to see the medical staff.

For the referrals that come in through the new system the main changes are:

  • Children and adolescents over 8 years of age and their parents/carers will have an appointment within 3 months of referral to see both our Clinical Nurse Consultant and one of our psychologists. This 90 minute appointment is designed to assess the needs of the young person and their parents/carers and to link them in with all the available supports both at RCH and in the community (Safe Schools Coalition, Minus18, Ygender, TGV, GASP, Gateway Health, GHFP, PGDC and Transcend, headspace Frankston etc)
  • Assessments for those living in regional and rural areas can be done via RCH Telehealth.
  • Following this initial appointment, parents will be offered a place in a group parent support session facilitated by the psychologist and other members of our team.
  • Families already on the waiting list will be offered a place in these parent support sessions first.
  • The young person and their parents/carers will then go on to having a multidisciplinary medical and mental health assessment with the psychiatrist as is currently done here at RCH.

Young people and their parents will be asked to fill out some clinical questionnaires when they are coming to see the clinical nurse consultant and the psychologist and then later when they see the doctors. This is to provide us with information which will help us to see if we are making a positive difference with our support and treatment. We also hope to use the data for research if the young person and parents provide their consent for us to do so. This is how we hope to improve our treatment practices over time and improve medical and mental health outcomes.