António Lacerda Sales in parliament yesterday. Photo: José Sena Goulão

Transexuals in Lisbon and Algarve to receive specialised health units

Facilities should be open by ‘end of summer’

Transexuals in Lisbon and the Algarve – and those seeking to change sex – are to receive their very own health units, by the end of the summer.

Health secretary António Lacerda Sales made this announcement yesterday during a parliamentary hearing on the State Budget, stressing this is an area “of great complexity”, requiring specially trained teams in psychiatry, psychology, endocrinology, gynecology and urology.

Up until a year ago, there was only one unit for transsexuals operating out of Coimbra. 

Mr Lacerda Sales said the unit performed surgeries on 54 patients in 2021, and between January and April this year has operated on another 32.

Even so, there is a waiting list of 129 people wanting sex changes, of which 47 have waited beyond the “guaranteed average response times”.

Roughly a year ago, a second unit was created at Hospital de Santo António in Porto, which, said Mr Lacerda Sales, is working in a “phase of acceleration” – while the two further units should be opening by the end of this summer.

MPs questioning the health secretary did not refer to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who are also waiting for surgeries/ interventions, even consultations “beyond guaranteed average response times”.

Rui Tavares, for LIVRE, did ask about response by the health service to incoming refugees – to which the health secretary said this has been “exemplary”.

We just have to look at the paradigmatic example that has been Portugal’s reception of Ukrainian citizens, where just (on Monday), for example, when the temporary protection numbers were 36,921 requests and 36,130 were allocated at the same time – practically an allocation of 100% of the number of users”,  he said.

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