2022.08.05 11:22

Lithuanian health minister approves procedure for diagnosing, treating gender dysphoria

BNS 2022.08.05 11:22

Lithuanian Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys has approved the procedure for diagnosing and treating gender dysphoria (GD), the ministry has said.

This will allow for a unified and clear provision of health services to adults with suspected or diagnosed GD.

“This description will not only ensure the procedure for providing the service but will also allow Lithuania to meet its international obligations in the area of human rights, eliminating violations that have been recorded for more than a decade,” the Health Ministry said in its statement on Friday.

The description defines the roles and responsibilities of a family doctor, psychiatrist, endocrinologist, obstetrician, gynaecologist, urologist, and other specialists. It also sets the conditions for the establishment of a medical specialist consilium, defines the powers of its members, and details other issues related to patients’ health.

A patient willing to start hormone treatment in Lithuania will have to turn to their family doctor or a psychiatrist providing primary outpatient mental health care for a referral to a specialist medical consilium.

If medical treatment is prescribed, every patient will be provided with a comprehensive treatment and monitoring plan tailored to their health needs. The diagnosis and treatment services will be covered by the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund.

Until now, medics in Lithuania have had no standards for diagnosing and treating GD. This has led to different practices at healthcare establishments and prevented the creation of legal conditions for prescribing necessary medicines and tests when needed, the ministry said.

“The new procedure will reduce the scope of health services within the grey area and will allow ensuring patients’ rights,” Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys said in the statement.

In 2007, Lithuania lost a case at the Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights against a woman who sought to change her gender and have it reflected by her identity documents and personal identification number. The court pointed out that Lithuania had no law regulating sex change surgeries.

All subsequent attempts to adopt such a law in Lithuania failed, forcing the government to report every year on the progress made in ensuring the rights of transgender people.