Brussels’ first gender clinic to open in 2023
Brugmann CHU in Brussels is due to open a gender clinic at its Horta site in 2023, reports RTBF. The project is in its final phase and should be completed in the second quarter of 2023.
The clinic would be the first of its kind in the capital. Belgium currently has three similar centres in hospitals in Ghent, Liège and Genk. Waiting times are long at these other facilities. In Ghent, there are around 1,000 operations pending with a six-month delay, according to Brugmann.
One singularity of the future clinic is that psychiatrists and endocrinologists will jointly take care of the first consultation in order to determine the appropriate course of treatment. "We want to reduce the increased psychiatrisation of gender issues, break this stigma," says the hospital’s operations director Priam Van Eeckhout.
Providing secure environment
Around a dozen specialties, both medical and paramedical, will coordinate the care. “We have realised that this type of patient needs a secure environment with available doctors,” observes Van Eeckhout. “We will therefore ensure that the various service providers are accessible at the same time. We will also ensure that multidisciplinary assessments are made” he adds.
The public hospital also wishes to innovate in the welcome it offers to patients. “Care already begins on the website and on the phone. From reception and throughout the journey in the clinic, we want to avoid, for example, saying ‘Mr’ or “Mrs’, says Van Eeckhout.
Before opening its doors in 2023, staff will train in Ghent's similar centre. The clinic will also draw inspiration from centres abroad, in particular those in English-speaking countries.
Currently, only the trans-identity support centres in Ghent and Liège are officially approved in terms of their tariffs. Although the Brussels clinic will not initially be approved, it intends to offer agreed rates in the future.