SNP MSP for the Highlands & Islands, Emma Roddick, took the opportunity to seek reassurances around healthcare provision for LGBTQIA+ people living in rural and island communities in her region during this week’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee.
The committee continued its Stage 1 inquiry into the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill and was joined, in its second expert panel of the meeting, by David Parker, Lead Clinician at the National Gender Identity Clinical Network for Scotland. Ms Roddick questioned him on the location of clinics and asked whether processes were in place to support patients in rural and island locations.
Ms Roddick said:
“I’m very aware, as a Highlands & Islands representative, of the fact that all Gender Identity Cinics in Scotland are currently based in cities. I was glad to have the opportunity to question David Parker on this matter, and to hear from him that the Highlands once again is leading in sharing best practice around remote services, which will mean a lot to my LGBTQI+ constituents in rural and island locations.
“We’ve made great progress on LGBTQI+ rights and awareness in the Highlands and Islands in recent years – for example, I am really looking forward to attending Shetland’s first Pride event next month. However, that very welcome societal acceptance has to come alongside real support and understanding from public services.
“The NHS should be there for everyone, no matter where they live or why they need help. I know that we have a long way to go with trans healthcare across the board and I will continue to press for it to be accessible to all.”
Mr Parker reassured Ms Roddick during the committee meeting that the quick move to online working during the Covid-19 Pandemic has helped the organisation provide a more accessible service to those who need it, particularly in remote communities.