Transsexual, gender non-conforming or intersex people are entitled to a ‘mental illness certificate’ to prove they have a medical condition that requires treatment, according to the Department of Human Services.
The policy was introduced to address a lack of accurate information about the condition, which can affect people’s ability to access care and mental health services.
“Transgender people have the right to receive accurate information and support on their mental health needs and to be able to self-confirm,” a spokesperson for the department said in a statement.
“We have worked hard to develop and deliver a range of information and resources to help trans and gender non conforming people understand and access the care they need.”
Transsexual and gender-nonconforming people who are seeking mental health care in NSW are not required to provide a ‘medical certificate’ The department said the policy was implemented to address “existing concerns” about the issue and to improve the accuracy of information.
It said people who were medically diagnosed with a mental health condition were entitled to receive the “transgender identity” certificate as a way to prove their identity.
The information was to be provided to the doctor who prescribed the medication and also to the carers, the spokesperson said.
A person seeking a “trans-related medical certificate” can “apply for the certificate on their own behalf” by submitting a letter from a carer or doctor attesting to their diagnosis.
It is not required that a letter be submitted by a carers or doctor.
The spokesperson said a doctor could be required to sign a “medical certificate” if the carer’s or doctor’s letter was not “verifiable and reliable”.
The Department of Health has since said it is currently investigating the issue, and a spokesperson said it was not aware of any case where a medical certificate had been refused.
However, the policy had not been fully implemented, the department added.
“Currently, there are no regulations on when or how the certificate is required for the purpose of providing information,” it said in the statement.