Providing gender-affirming hormone therapy through primary care: Service users' and health professionals' experiences of a pilot clinic
journal contributionposted on 22.07.2020, 23:16 by A Ker, Gloria Fraser, Antonia Lyons, C Stephenson, T Fleming
© 2020 CSIRO Publishing Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2020 This is an open access article licensed under a. INTRODUCTION: Primary health care providers are playing an increasingly important role in providing gender-affirming health care for gender diverse people. This article explores the experiences of a primary care-based pilot clinic providing gender-affirming hormone therapy in Wellington, New Zealand. AIM: To evaluate service users' and health professionals' experiences of a pilot clinic at Mauri Ora (Victoria University of Wellington's Student Health and Counselling Service) that provided gender-affirming hormones through primary care. METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted with four (out of six) service users and four health professionals about their perspectives on the clinic. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Three themes were identified in service users' interviews, who discussed receiving affirming care due to the clinic's accessibility, relationship-centred care and timeliness. Three themes were identified in the health professionals' interviews, who described how the clinic involves partnership, affirms users' gender and agency, and is adaptable to other primary care settings. Both service users and health professionals discussed concerns about the lack of adequate funding for primary care services and the tensions between addressing mental health needs and accessing timely care. DISCUSSION: The experiences of service users and health professionals confirm the value of providing gender-affirming hormone therapy in primary care. Models based in primary care are likely to increase accessibility, depathologise gender diversity and reduce wait times.